Review: Undone

Rosa Salazar stars in Undone

Undone is different. It’s animated, but it’s about adults and adult problems. It’s beautiful to look at with creativity bursting through every frame. It seems to be a story about time travel or the space time continuum, but it’s really a story about mental health.

Like A Beautiful Mind, Tabula Rasa, and other dramas before Undone, this story is told as if reality is bending and twisting the way the main character, Alma (Rosa Salazar) experiences it.

Rosa Salazar and Bob Odenkirk in Undone

Alma is bored with her routine life. She’s driving home from work and sees her long dead father Jacob (Bob Odenkirk). She has a wreck. When she wakes up her father is always around, talking about needing her. He wants her to go back in time to find out who murdered him.

Jacob was a physicist who studied time. He coached and prodded at Alma to use her skills to bend time. She could move around between the past and the present. She would go back to the night of his death and tell him who murdered him.

Everyone worried about Alma after the accident. Alma wasn’t worried at all. She was getting to know her dad and secrets from the past. She was happier than she’d been in a long while.

Angelique Cabral in Undone

Alma’s sister Becca (Angelique Cabral) was getting married. Alma’s accident and behavior afterwards worried Becca. She wanted to be sure Alma was going to be okay at the wedding.

Alma’s mother Camila (Constance Marie) worried about her, too. She insisted Alma go to a psychiatrist and take the pills the doctor prescribed. The pills were for schizophrenia, a condition Alma’s grandmother had.

Siddharth Dhananjay

Alma’s boyfriend Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay) – or, wait . . . was he her boyfriend? – worried about her. He kept talking about reality. Sam is the only person Alma told about her experiences with her dad.

Alma worked in a preschool. Her boss Tunde (Daveed Diggs) was concerned because she kept spacing out and doing odd things in front of the children.

The animation, which is beautiful, is created using rotoscoping. Rotoscoping is a technique used to trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, to produce realistic action. In some scenes, you sense the real actors under the image. Other scenes are unlike anything realistic.

Perhaps it seems odd that an animated series deals with such a profoundly adult issue as mental health. But it gives the creators the opportunity to show the world the way Alma experiences it. It could have been done with CGI or some other technique, but this type of animation has great warmth and feels very human. It’s intimate. It almost has texture. I think it was a brilliant choice to animate Alma’s story. The resulting look is beautiful.

Alma wears a hearing aid. I like the idea of the main character having a visible disability. The inclusive cast is a bonus.

The series has 8 short episodes. It goes by very quickly. I was sorry when it was over. Alma is an original and the trip inside her world was enlightening.

the poster for Undone

As you can see from the artwork on the poster, Undone is an Amazon original. Watch the trailer.

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