My Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Hotel Beau Séjour is a new release on Netflix that I recently binge-watched. Only 10-episodes long, I couldn’t hold myself back and finished it within a week.
In the U.S., we seem to be pretty good at action/drama shows, but most of the decent murder-mystery shows happen to be, like Hotel Beau Séjour, foreign-made. (If you haven’t noticed, most of our murder-mystery shows are just remakes of foreign originals.) If you have no problems with subtitles, this is bound to be a new favorite of yours.
HBS puts a new spin on the classic murder show set-up. Like most, we enter the story with a murder just having taken place. However, in this instance the victim stays with us as somewhat of a ghost, trapped in a strange type of limbo. We follow ghost-like Kato Hoeven as she struggles to uncover the mysteries that shroud the night of her murder–a night from which she has absolutely no memories.
Living in a small town in Belgium, is a large cast of characters that as you progress through the show you will discover are all hiding secrets–much like the U.K.’s Broadchurch or Iceland’s Case.
Another added catch is that only a handful of these people can see, hear, and interact with Kato. This obviously begs the question “why can only they see her?” What do they all have in common that allows them to see her? Are they all in some way connected with her murder? Did they each have a hand in it? Do they hold key information? Or maybe they were simply the last to see her alive?
You’ll be asking yourself these questions up until the very end. In shows like these, where it seems everyone has something to hide, no one is off-limits, and that’s what made this show enjoyable. One minute, I would feel I was close to solving the case, but then a new reveal would surface and I’d have to change my theories.
This means it is also a perfect show to re-watch, since you would have a greater appreciation for the subtle hints and could pick up on anything you missed before. (I am currently re-watching it to do just that.)
The Characters + Their Actors/Actresses:
Although, I am unfamiliar with all of the actors and actresses, it’s clear to me they all did a fantastic job. Though it should mostly fall on Kato’s actress, Lynn Van Royen, to allow us to connect and empathize with the story, all of the supporting actors/actresses were just as integral to the plot. Perhaps it is because I haven’t seen their work before, but they each left strong impressions on me, as each actor fit their character perfectly and were able to seamlessly evoke emotions from me. They were just as believable and, therefore, easy to empathize with, to love, to hate, or–as is the case for most–a combination of all three. None are solely black or white–purely good or bad–but all fall somewhere in between. All are three-dimensional and feel very real.
Much like we refer to Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, I will probably refer to these actors by their characters’ names from here on out.
I, of course, can’t really give you specifics on how I felt about each character, as specifics would probably lead to spoilers. The only character that doesn’t really involve spoilers is Kato, so I can at least tell you that I enjoyed and felt for her from the the very beginning all the way to the end.
With the fresh spins that Hotel Beau Séjour provides, this is a perfect show for both newcomers to the murder-mystery genre as well as those who are already familiar with it.