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Tore (TV Review)

3 min read

This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn't exist.

When talking about , 's new comedy drama, it's important to explain for those diving into the series for the first time that, whilst it definitely draws big laughs at times, the drama is absolutely devastating. Billed as a show for fans of Euphoria and Sex Education, the end result feels more akin to BoJack Horseman; funny, creative, heart-wrenching, and equally brilliant in places.

Spear-headed by creator, writer and star , the titular Tore is a 27 year old living with his father, Bosse (Peter Haber), who he also works with at a local funeral home. The first scene of the series introduces us to them mid-argument; Bosse loves his son but wants him to move out and experience the world, and Tore is having none of it, wanting to stay put and live comfortably with the familiar. Even when surrounded by death at work, nothing can prepare the young and naive Tore when Bosse is shockingly run over and killed – by a garbage truck of all things. 

From there, Tore does what most of us do when dealing with grief: run away. He does so in a literal sense – whenever a situation is too much, Tore storms off – but also in a way that allows him to explore himself. Every night Tore heads to a party boat where he discovers sex, alcohol, drugs, and community. Yes, Tore is more often than not self-destructive in his attempts of suppressing grief, but along the way he does become a more well-rounded adult. This is what makes Tore so compelling; it's a painfully real look into every aspect, good and bad, of dealing with grief and finding yourself along the way.

Tore (William Spetz) and Linn (Sanna Sundqvist) sit beside each other at a funeral in a church.
Netflix

Spetz does a fantastic job of writing and bringing Tore to life. He's childish for sure, but endearing thanks to his awkwardness and lack of social awareness. This is clearly a young man who has been sheltered all of his life and afraid to step out and experience the world. Over the six episodes he makes some terrible choices that will undoubtedly test audiences' empathy for Tore, but it's all by design. There's a solid reasoning, an emotional understanding, of why Tore makes an irrational decision, and that is what makes the narrative so tragic and agonisingly relatable.

The cast of characters surrounding Tore all serve a purpose and stand out in such a short amount of time. Tore's best friend Linn (Sanna Sundqvist) tries her best to support Tore even as he pushes her away, Erik (Hannes Fohlin) is the new cute florist with his own worries that Tore pines for, the elderly Heidi (Karin Bertling) deals with her own loss alongside Tore, Viggo (Victor Ivan) leads Tore into the world of drugs and partying, and drag queen Shady Meat (Carlos Romero Cruz) offers sound advice and comfort. Each character have their own surprising arcs that directly affect Tore and push his own arc in both surprising and tragically obvious directions. 

The performances, and the direction, are purposefully naturalistic. It works not just for the comedy that revolves around cringe-inducing character moments, but for the emotional beats too. This is a small story with ramifications that feel earth-shattering. The simple camera movements and shot composition contrast well to the handful of visually creative drug trip scenes, making them stand out even more, particularly as they of course incorporate Tore's grief and emotions. After such a shocking death kicking off a grounded show, the threat of something truly devastating happening again permeates throughout the entire series.

Hopefully Tore doesn't get lost on the Netflix app homepage but if it does do yourself a favour and seek it out. With a brilliantly written script and stellar performances, you'll laugh and cry with each episode. Better still, with its multi-layered deep dive into dealing with loss and exploring life, Tore offers a nuanced outlook unlike the many other stories exploring the same theme. 

Tore is available to stream on Netflix from October 27.