There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. However, the growing discontent between Mira and Jonathan in HBO and Hagai Levi’s modern adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 classic Scenes from a wedding is so realistic and raw that all sorts of couples will question the strength of their unions.
Tension first surfaced during Sunday’s premiere, when Mira reluctantly agreed to a doctoral student interview with Jonathan. After asking about traits the husband and wife couldn’t imagine without, the student revealed that she targeted married couples where the wife was the main breadwinner. Jonathan and Mira fit the bill because he’s a college professor who primarily cares about their four-year-old daughter Ava, and she’s a technical director who works around the clock.
Mira, who has been married to Jonathan for 10 years, became increasingly picky when the topic of childcare came up, as well as when she listed attributes. For example, she unconsciously described herself as a mother twice. She also kept checking her phone, making it unclear whether she was texting someone from work or perhaps a secret lover. (More on that later.)
Anyway, the student’s questions made Mira much more nervous than Jonathan, and after the interview was over, Mira couldn’t say anything else over dinner that night with their friends Kate and Peter. Unfortunately, talking about the state of their marriage inspired their polyamorous friends to do the same, and Kate revealed she was heartbroken because Nathan dumped her. This noticeably bothered her hubby Peter, who said that he had never fallen in love with his mistresses and that the arrangement only worked if the love was off the table.
At one point, Kate started yelling at a passive-aggressive Peter, and Mira separated the two by taking Kate upstairs to her and Jonathan’s bedroom. This is when Mira checked in with her boyfriend and said that Kate opened their marriage only because Peter kept cheating on her. But Kate said it was more complicated than that and she started wanting Peter more after she got involved with Nathan. Somewhere along the way their wires got crossed and Kate started kissing Mira, who quickly rejected the sexy gesture, causing Kate to apologize for being lustful and drunk.
As the women joined their husbands downstairs, a tipsy Peter screamed so loudly why monogamy was a sham that Mira had to ask him to leave because he had startled Ava up. Kate and Peter left, Ava fell back asleep and Mira and Jonathan were finally alone, which was a good thing because Mira had news. She was pregnant. A birth control snafu and the assumption that nearly 40 would make her less fertile had put them in a scary and unexpected place.
Mira had texted her doctor earlier that day during the interview, trying to decide what to do. On the one hand, Ava said she wanted a sister. But then again, Mira had struggled with both postpartum depression and career setbacks following her extended maternity leave with Ava. Jonathan panicked and initially had an asthma attack when he heard the news, but then began to get excited about the possibility of having another baby.
And it seemed as if Mira was beginning to entertain the idea of expanding their family as well, until the next scene, when Mira and Jonathan sat in her doctor’s office as her doctor explained the steps and side effects of chemical abortions. Jonathan tried to put on a brave face. He even rushed to the soda machine to get her something to wash down the pills, but he was clearly heartbroken at Mira’s decision. Mira also struggled tremendously, and the gravity of her choice became so heavy that she asked Jonathan to leave the room, covered her head with a sheet and sobbed.
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