London banker Mark has just made a fortune in a financial deal. Feeling stifled by his pregnant wife's material expectations and guilty after facing some abused homeless, he becomes a shelter benefactor. Trying his hand as volunteer, he takes a personal interest in runaway teenager Zoe, whose expectations prove even worse. Also in the shelter is recently released violent repeat-offender Robert. He takes a romantic interest in runway pregnant Michelle and her preteen daughter Danielle, while looking for his mother Margaret, who forbade him to see his beloved late dad. Mark's noble intentions lead to unexpected dramas.
Four characters living in one neighborhood in London - all living dramatically different lives, all of them on the edge - see their stories unfold.
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Born Equal reviews
'Born Equal' is honest, challenging TV that poses lots of questions without really giving easy answers. But then, with the difficult subject matter, it wouldn't be easy to. This one-off, 85-minute long drama, shown recently on BBC1, followed the stories of ordinary British people affected in different ways by homelessness and poverty. It has been compared to 'Cathy Come Home', a landmark TV film from the 60s focusing on, near enough, the same problems. The film is also of particular interest because the actors improvised their own dialogue, from ideas developed by director Dominic Savage, who has frequently worked in this method.This film involves the sometimes intertwining tales of a City banker, a Nigerian immigrant family, a released Scottish convict and a pregnant young woman and her daughter,escaping from troubles at home. The latter three of these stories mostly take place in the hostel where the characters are temporarily living.The actors rise to the challenge of improvisation and still deliver subtle, intense and honest performances. Every cast member is magnificent, with popular and rising British actors filling the roles. Colin Firth is terrific as the rich banker racked with guilt over the poverty he sees every day, and is matched by rising star Nichola Burley and Emilia Fox in his segment. David Oyelewo and Nikki Amuka-Bird are particularly affecting as the Nigerian couple striving to bring a relative from Nigeria to London. The other two stories intertwine more than the others do, and a tale both sweet and tragic unfolds, featuring Robert Carlyle as the ex-con and Anne Marie Duff as the young mother. Both are excellent, with Carlyle balancing the violent and reformed sides of his character in a searing performance. A delightful performance also comes from the young girl playing Duff's daughter.This piece is perhaps not as gritty as it could have been, but has an uncompromising and suitable ending. The entire piece successfully captures contemporary Britain, with a distinct feeling of the present in its social and political relevance and is a truly moving and challenging experience that can be taken as both excellent TV and something designed to raise awareness of the problems plaguing our country.