Thrillers are a fantastic genre. They manage to create great mysteries and hype you up as the pieces start coming into place, and the characters start stumbling upon revelation after revelation. They can also get the audience’s mind on the edge of their seats and keep them thinking about how things will get resolved. Dear Child, the new Netflix thriller of the week, comes directly from Germany to get our minds riled up until the moment we get answers to the mystery it presents to us. Dear Child is another proof that the source material that is needed to create a wonderful miniseries is already out there.
Dear Child is a miniseries produced by Netflix and developed by Romy Hausman as an adaptation of the book of the same name written by Hausman herself. The miniseries stars Kim Riedle, Naila Schuberth, Julika Jenkins, Justus von Dohnányi, Hans Löw, and Aida Kurt.
The miniseries tells the story of a mysterious woman who escapes after being kidnapped for a long time. Along with her was her daughter, the one she had with her captor. However, as she escapes and returns to the world, her case mixes up with that of a woman named Lena, who disappeared fourteen years ago. Is this woman Lena?
Dear Child begins like most thrillers do, right in the middle of the events. This forces the audience to catch up quickly, and while as the episodes continue, the plot becomes clearer and clearer, the initial setup is enough to make anyone watch right until the end.
Dear Child is lean and mean, and with only six episodes, it becomes an easy binge-watch, the one that Netflix has us accustomed to. For anyone who is a fan of the genre, there might not be much here that we haven’t seen before, and yet, the execution is solid enough to be quite entertaining.
The miniseries knows very well how to provide information and questions to the audience, and it creates a nice flow by doing it the way it does. Each episode lasts 45 minutes, so the plot is always moving forward. Even in the slowest moments, the miniseries manages to keep things going forward, maybe by introducing a new clue that complicates things or even by putting the characters into some very dangerous situations.
It works, and it is quite nice to see. Dear Child is not a show that will give you the time to get bored; things are happening all the time, even if they end up just being red herrings.
How about the mystery itself? Is it good? From my perspective, I would say it is. It is now unique or too complicated, which makes it more enjoyable, as members of the audience will be able to gather the clues and come to the right conclusion very early on.
This could detract from the fun aspect for some people, but it will be a plus for others as their theories will get confirmed very quickly. The miniseries doesn’t have the time for big detours; it is adapting a novel, so the writers know exactly what the most important parts of the story are, and they already know how to get the characters to their last position in the story.
The mystery isn’t very unique, but it is entertaining. To balance things out, the writers do more than just create a mystery. They also create a looming threat that continues to be present throughout the season. This is where the thrills come from, as we know the shoe will go down, but we don’t know when or how.
The writing is to the point, especially regarding the dialogue. It never feels like the story is stopping to let some exposition out. Everything is done in the proper context and feels quite natural. Of course, some strange behavior borders on illogical for some characters, but it makes sense within the context.
Talking about the acting, a couple of actors here do an amazing job in their roles. Julika Jenkins and Justus von Dohnányi do an incredible job as a couple of distraught parents who get a bit of hope when it comes to putting the case of their missing daughter to rest. You definitely feel like these people have gone through the wringer, and they are ready to be done with it.
Hans Löw also does the same in the role of a tortured detective who has lost all sense of hope and sees the opportunity for redemption. These characters are very human, making them the perfect type of characters for this type of story. Emotions become too powerful, and they blind the characters from seeing things more coldly and logically.
However, young Naila Schuberth becomes the real highlight of the show. She is the story’s main character, as we see and learn a lot of information from her point of view, and we also get inside her mind many times throughout the season.
The young actress manages to be innocent and creepy, and as the situation she has been living in becomes clearer, it makes sense for her to be just like she is. Aida Kurt also does a fantastic job as a detective who gets involved in the case and will go the extra mile to find the truth. Her presence on screen is fantastic; let’s hope we can see more of her in future projects.
In general, Dear Child does what a thriller is supposed to do. The writing and the characters are all meant to make the mystery come undone and show human beings in some of the most interesting possible situations. What would you do if you were in this situation? It is a question that any good thriller should raise in the viewer, and we believe that Dear Child does it plenty of times during its six-episode run. The production values are solid, and even the music carries the scenes very well. The final resolution might not be the most satisfying ever written, but it doesn’t have to be. It just works.