Apple TV+ Original: ‘Physical’ Pilot Review

A woman struggling in her life as a quietly tortured housewife who finds an unconventional path to power through an unlikely source: the world of aerobics.

Director: Craig Gillespie
Writer: Annie Weisman
Starring: Rose Byrne, Dierdre Friel, Rory Scovel, Paul Sparks, Della Saba

Physical Debuts on Apple TV+ on June 18th

The tone is set, the cinematography, music, and costumes, we are in the ’80s, and it’s beautiful. Sheila is a housewife struggling and battles with the inner voice in her head. Her inner voice is negative, ruthless, and hard on her.

In this era, her husband Danny is what you expect, obnoxious, sexist, and degrading, including towards Sheila. Rory Scovel does a fantastic job of setting the tone for Danny as that villainous husband.

In the first episode, they do a great job showing you the battle that Sheila faces between her want to be perfect and wanting to be herself. Her internal struggle with how she looked vs. wanting to eat garbage, to her reflection in the mirror, to the standards her demanding husband set for her. She struggled, and you felt it.

Speaking of Sheila, Rose Byrne is perfectly suited for this role. The role has a little bit of everything, from comedy to drama to emotional, and Byrne showcases that range in the first episode. The writing is good, but Byrne takes the role to the next level.

The pilot doesn’t hit a home run, but it does a great job of world-building and setting us up to want more. Gillespie does a great job of setting the tone for the era. From the music to the color palette to the production design, the team does a great job putting us right into the ’80s. Top all of this off with the well-casted Rose Byrne, and you can’t help but move onto the next episode.

The Verdict: B

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