Review: On the Verge, women in mid-life

Julie Delpy in On the Verge

On the Verge tells the story of four women friends in their 40s who are in various stages of life crisis and change – all of it happening just before the coronavirus pandemic hits. Julie Delpy created and co-wrote the series along with co-star Alexia Landeau. Delpy directed 5 of the 12 episodes in this Netflix series.

On the Verge had a rocky beginning for me. The first couple of episodes painted the women into various emotional and financial corners where they flailed. They weren’t particularly likeable at first. I stuck with them, and it was worth the wait to see into the lives of these four women and the people around them.

Alexia Landeau, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Jones, and Julie Delpy in On the Verge
Alexia Landeau, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Jones, and Julie Delpy play lifelong friends

Justine (Julie Delpy) was a very successful chef. She and her husband Martin (Mathieu Demy) spoke French at home. He was an architect who couldn’t find work since coming to LA with Justine. They had a son who was an excellent pianist.

Elisabeth Shue and Troy Garity in One the Verge
These two could only stand each other when they were high

Anne (Elisabeth Shue) was a talented fashion designer but lived off her mother’s money. Her partner George (Troy Garity) was in the process of moving out. Their son did not conform to gender norms and George wasn’t doing well with it.

Sarah Jones in On the Verge

Yasmin (Sarah Jones) wasn’t working at the moment. She had a really interesting secret past! Her husband Will (Timm Sharp) was a software developer. They had one son. Late in the season when we meet Yasmin’s cousin Darien (Armin Amiri) and find out about Yasmin’s secret past were some of my favorite episodes.

Alexia Landeau in On the Verge

Ell (Alexia Landeau) was unsuited for any kind of work and flat broke. She was incompetent at everything. She tried various ways to make money through the season. She had three kids from three different fathers.

The four friends struggled with whether their lives were what they wanted for themselves. Nobody mentioned the word menopause, but there were plenty of complaints about fuzzy thinking, being hot, and feeling confused. The men in their beds weren’t bringing the sexual magic any more, their kids were growing up, and unrest was upon them.

There was a funny scene where Julie Delpy the actress (“She used to be good!”) came into Justine’s restaurant. The chef asked the gorgeously done up actress if the food was okay and the haughty actress mentioned numerous things wrong with it. Hmm, probably won’t get tagged on Instagram for that meal.

I was cheering the women on as they made big changes and moves in their lives and situations. As these decisions were made, the first news about a looming global pandemic began to trickle in. I so want to know how these four friends who had finally made some needed decisions in their lives were impacted by the pandemic. Maybe a second season?

I both liked and disliked On the Verge. I love to find material women write, produce, and directed for themselves. That carried me through the episodes that were less compelling.

On the Verge poster with Julie Delpy

Here’s the trailer.

Think you’ll give these four women friends a look?

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