“People with perfect lives don’t usually jump off of ferries.”
A wealthy woman attempts to rebuild the fragments of her life after she tries to commit suicide by jumping from a ferry into the San Francisco Bay. Not remembering the incident in question and the events that led up to her jump, Sophie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is left struggling to survive in a world she no longer understands. Now afraid of water and having difficulty coping with her ongoing memory loss, Sophie finds comfort in going to her therapist (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) for guidance. But, she seems to have a perfect life. A wonderfully handsome and successful husband (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a supportive and creative best friend (Ari Graynor), and a house to die for. When a mysterious man (Stephan James) enters the picture, Sophie’s confusion and mistrust of those around her begin to boil over.
“Surface” is the newest limited series offering from producer Reese Witherspoon. An 8-episode drama that feels stylish and sophisticated, with a sprinkling of deception and heartbreak. Sophie’s trauma and subsequent amnesia are the focal point of a thriller that becomes a more harrowing yet similar concept to the movie “Overboard,” yet it’s not that entertaining. The essence of Sophie is still with her, but since she doesn’t remember her life or how she got to where she is, the entire series is structured in flashbacks and flickering memories. The camera’s focus during many extended sequences is distracting at first, with blurry foregrounds possibly to convey Sophie’s confused state. With a setting in San Francisco, it’s pretty evident that the show was filmed in Canada, as many Vancouver landmarks appear throughout the eight episodes.
However, “Surface” does get sharper as the episodes progress. It seems that everyone may be keeping secrets, possibly even Sophie herself. As Sophie uncovers more clues about her past, the viewers take a sluggish yet Hitchcockian journey to discover the truth. Was she suicidal, or was she pushed off of that ferry?
The first three episodes of “Surface” premiere on July 29th on AppleTV+ with new episodes following every Friday.
Ticket rating: 🎟🎟🎟