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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 25, 2021



JODIE COMER is a British actress who initially gained fame as the young mistress of the husband of “Doctor Foster”, the English domestic drama series that became a worldwide hit.


It was the basis of the Koreanovela, “The World of the Married”, which is now having a Pinoy adaptation, “The Broken Marriage Vow”, with Sue Ramirez playing Jodie’s role. 

But Jodie gained international stardom as the ruthless assassin, Villanelle, in “Killing Eve”, a spy thriller which is now on Season 4 but which we’ve stopped watching after Season 2 as it has become stale and ridiculous. 

She has now conquered Hollywood and stars in two new big movies, the action comedy “Free Guy” with Ryan Reynolds (a blockbuster) and the costume drama “Last Duel” with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (a flop).

In between, she did a TV movie for The Forge, an independent British drama company, “Help” (also the title of the very first Beatles’ movie), set during the Covid pandemic. 

Written by Jack Thorne and directed by Marc Munden, it starts just before the virus came. Sarah (Jodie) is a health care worker who applies in Bright Sky Homes, a home for the aged (which they call care home) in Liverpool. 

Sarah is very spunky and fearlessly defied her hostile employer who initially tried to bully her. 

She quickly makes friends with Tony (Stephen Graham), an inmate who looks but normal, but is actually suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in its early onset. 

He’s prone to escaping from the home, wandering around the streets looking for his mother who, he often forgets, is already dead. 

Sarah is overworked as they are undermanned, but she still has to contend with problems at home with her family who also depends on her. 

Things get tougher when the Covid pandemic came in March, 2020. The United Kingdom is one of the most hardest hit and their care homes had an outbreak among their elderly patients.

Just like other care homes, Bright Light is not a priority of the government who gave priority to other normal hospitals. They don’t even have the proper PPE (Personal protective equipment) and Sarah just uses a garbage bag as her protection when attending to patients. 

Their superior himself, Steve (Ian Hart), suffers from Covid and one night, all the other carers are not available and Sarah is the only one left on duty. 

This is a grueling long sequence with Sarah attending to everything just by herself. 

When an old patient, Kenny (Steve Garti) coughs non stop and has difficulty breathing, Sarah asks the help of Tony, who happens to be Kenny’s best friend, to help turn Kenny over to ease his breathing. 

She tries to call for help from other institutions, asking an ambulance, but no one came. You’ll heart will really go out to Sarah for all her tribulations during this hellish night shift. 

Other personnel return the next day, so she is able to go home, but when she comes back, she finds Tony looking catatonic and Steve says he is given a new medicine that aims to calm him down. 

Sarah finds this unjustified, so she helps Tony to escape from the care home and takes her to a mobile home by the beach, with the intention of transferring him to another care home after quarantining him for two weeks.

But after 12 days, the cops find them. Tony is taken to return to Bright Sky and Sarah is arrested and the movie becomes very political at this point. 

Resorting to metacinema, Sarah speaks directly to the camera to air legitimate gripes against U.K.’s ruling party, the Tories, saying they don’t really care for poor and elderly people.


The film ends with a list of statistics about the casualties during the pandemic. It says that of the more than 48,000 people who died in the pandemic between March and June, 2020, 40 percent are elderly. 

The government gave the care homes only few PPE’s and the average pay of a care worker is only 8.50 pounds per hour.

The film is obviously made to agitate viewers and we don’t know how it affected the Tory ministers in the UK. 

What Jodie as Sarah went through is definitely a nightmare for any care worker who look after the very vulnerable aging patients during the pandemic.

The film benefits a lot from Jodie’s interpretation of Sarah, who is not really a saint or Miss Goody Two Shoes. 

She did many mischievous things as a student and never really did well in school, but she has a kind heart and her innate empathy and compassion for the patients under her care are not the sort of things you’d learn from school. 

The kind of acting required from her here is not the type shown in “Killing Eve” or “Free Guy”, but it shows her wide range as an actress who exudes warmth and kindness, freeing herself from the shackles of being identified as Villanelle. 

That scene where she is so stressed during that long nightmarish sequence with Kenny and Tony and she finally breaks down is very well handled. 

And the finale where she breaks the fourth wall and directly faces the camera to vent her rage against an uncaring government is very compelling. 

She gets superb support from Stephen Graham (“The North Water” and “Time” TV series) as Tony, a difficult patient with whom she gets to bond well. His last scene when he is taken back to the Bright Sky and he is asking for Sarah is heart-wrenching.