Being fluent in French, I’m always intrigued when Netflix offers a new French series and when I saw that Mythomaniac was going to be streamed after being shown on the Arte channel, I was looking forward to check this one out. Mythomaniac offers us an original story about a desperate and unhappy mother, ready to go to any length to make her family appreciate her, leading to a fabricated, shocking lie regarding her health. While the first episode is a little slow, it remains quite engrossing while we meet the different members of this dysfunctional family.
We begin the episode with a look at the neighbourhood and as the camera moves from one house to the next, we see an ambulance taking someone away while all the residents look on.
We then cut to the morning with Elvira, waking up all her children and struggling to get them ready, showing a lack of respect to their mother. After they leave, she heads to her gynecologist’s appointment to find out the results of her mammogram, as she had found multiple lumps in her breast. Fortunately, they’re not cancerous so the doctor advises her to try relaxing more and get some exercise. Heading in to work, she finds out from her colleagues that an elderly woman killed her husband in her street. Her boss takes her in his office where he berates her about her poor performance and being unsympathetic before telling her he doesn’t care if her life is difficult. Back home, we see she has a stressful life; between difficult children and an absent husband, she’s left to do everything in the house.
While cleaning, Elvira finds a bracelet on the floor and as the evening arrives, her husband hosts a meeting for his photography business. Being the graceful host, Elvira greets the guests and sees that one of the women has a necklace matching the bracelet she previously found.
After a difficult day, Elvira decides to tell her husband she has a tumour, which shocks him as he lays on the bed feeling unwell. Meanwhile, we see all three children dealing with their lives. Carole goes to a rave and does drugs while transsexual Sam is secretly in love with her pen pal Niklas and anxious about the world; Virginie starts looking up breast cancer on the internet.
The next morning, Patrick is suddenly more attentive and brings Elvira breakfast in bed while he sorts the kids out. We then see that he has been having an affair with the chemist, Brigitte, but starts to feel guilty about it. Elvira picks up Virginie and Sam with his penpal Niklas from Germany. On the way home, Elvira tell Sam to make sure she tells Niklas the truth about herself. Unfortunately, Virginie is sick in the car which prompts her mum to call the doctor. After examining her, he explains that she’s stressed, which is linked to her mother’s anxiety as he sees all the relaxant medicine on the bedside table.
As everyone goes about their bedtime routine, Elvira feels guilty and decides to tell the truth about her cancer to Patrick. However, she stops herself when he tells her he’ll be there for her and will come to every appointment. The episode then ends with Elvira jogging and collapsing, out of breath by the house where the murder happened.
Mythomaniac’s first episode takes a while to get into a solid rhythm but does have some interesting themes to pad out these moments. Everyone tells lies around us and some people might go to desperate measures to get what they want in life. Elvira craves the appreciation and attention from her family so much, which is what leads her to lie about having a tumour.
The children also seem to be fighting their own demons and each has their own lies as we dig deeper into their lives. This definitely gives more depth to the series and while this drama series pales in comparison to other, more thrilling shows out right now, there’s enough intriguing plot points to keep you coming back for more.