She’s a socially conservative widow left to run a porn studio – luckily, she won’t have to do it all on her own.
By
Anthony Morris

20 May 2021 - 9:04 AM  UPDATED 20 May 2021 - 9:04 AM

When you die, the last thing you want your loved ones dealing with is all the porn you left behind. But there’s a big difference between a dubious browser history and the kind of porn Sofia (Natalia Lage) discovers after her husband Alexandre takes a fatal tumble off the family home’s balcony. The former you can sort out by closing your eyes and hitting ‘clear cache’; what she has to deal with requires a more… hands on approach.

Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone.

 

Sofia

One of the first things you notice about Hard is that for a comedy, it doesn’t make a joke of Sofia’s grief. Her husband dying in the opening scene while trying to grab a drone out of a tree might be funny, but the way she’s left bereft isn’t played for laughs. Which in a way makes what’s to come even funnier: she’s the straight man who finds herself in a pansexual world.

 

We might know what lies ahead (Hard is a Brazilian adaption of a 2008 French series that’s previously aired on SBS), but it’s not until her husband’s funeral that the former lawyer starts to suspect something isn’t quite right. All the family and friends that she knows are there, but there also seems to be an awful lot of people she’s never met before turning up in outfits that seem a little too sexy.

 

Fortunately her mother-in-law Margot (Denise Del Vecchio) is there to fill in the gaps in her knowledge – and it seems there’s some pretty big ones.

 

Margot

Margot is a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact, straight-shooter type. Which is handy, because her son was secretly running a porn studio and she was the one handling the books. Turns out that the tech company he told Sofia was keeping her in luxury (seriously, their house is amazing) failed on take-off, while the secret porn company he started has been going from strength to strength. He even named it after her: SofiX

 

Alexandre and Margot kept Sofia in the dark because they knew she was a bit of a prude who wouldn’t accept how he was really making a living. But now Margot gives it to her straight; Alexandre left the porn business to her, and they all have to deal with the new status quo – starting with a tour of the office.

 

Pierre

There she meets her new right-hand man Pierre (Fernando Alves Pinto), who she first ran into at the funeral (he was the guy with the neck tattoo). Here he’s the man who makes everything run smoothly. Which is more difficult than you might think, because while the business started out as a fairly traditional porn venture, various changes in the market over the years have forced them to cater to a more… niche audience. We’re talking whips, chains, and animals (there’s a chicken); it’s a smorgasbord of sleaze.

 

In putting a Brazilian spin on a French classic, Hard updates the setting to the modern porn business, where online competition and streaming videos have made it a very different place. So while this series successfully mines laughs (and drama) from the world of porn, this update is even more about the challenges Sofia will face as she tries to change the business and finds herself being changed by it. And there’s no bigger challenge coming her way than the one aimed directly at her heart.

 

Marcello Mastroduro

Owning SopiX is a lot to take in for Sophia, especially once she realises she can’t just sell the business off - even her fancy home is mortgaged to the hilt. She’s in shock, she’s still grieving, and suddenly she’s the owner-operator of a porn studio that has a donkey wandering around. Nobody could blame her for driving away a little erratically – but when she hits a man and he charmingly brushes it off (he’s even worried for her), he seems a little too good to be true.

 

Of course, he is: after Sofia leaves he heads into the SofiX offices, ditches his conservative outfit and gets down to some butt-naked (literally) work as international porn sensation Mastroduro (Julio Machado). Not only is Sofia going to have to juggle her role as a porn maven with parenting two teenagers and socialising with her equally morally upstanding friends, but she’s going to have to deal with her growing feelings for a man who has sex on camera for a living.

 

No wonder they call it Hard.

 

Hard is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

 

 

Follow the author here: @morrbeat

 

MORE FROM THE GUIDE
Jess Hill selects her SBS On Demand favourites
The investigative journalist and presenter of 'See What You Made Me Do' gives us insight into the series, and shares her list of SBS On Demand favourites.
From brutal dating to deadly Italians: Eurovision hosts Myf and Joel share their favourite shows
With the 65th Eurovision Song Contest almost here, Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey share their favourite shows at SBS On Demand.
Malcolm Turnbull, Celia Pacquola, Uncle Jack Charles and others discover their family history
The new Australian season of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ premieres Tuesday 8 June at 7.30pm on SBS.
Join the brave folk fighting for life in these dystopian dramas
From the long-awaited Season 4 of 'The Handmaid's Tale' to puzzles of identity, missing memories and deadly diseases, these dark dramas make compelling viewing.
A hidden corner of World War II comes to the surface in ‘Atlantic Crossing’
‘Atlantic Crossing’ lifts the lid on the wartime relationship between FDR and the Crown Princess of Norway – and has stirred up controversy in the process.
Indulge your Handmaid's Tale obsessions between episodes
Sometimes watching the show is just the beginning.
Grab your squad and make a date with 'The Unusual Suspects'
There's more than just a missing $16 million necklace at stake in this heist drama that delves into friendships and secrets. On SBS and SBS On Demand.
A Judge is pushed to become Judge, Jury and Executioner in ‘Les Honorables’
For a respected Quebec legal family, avenging a loved one’s death will mean throwing away everything they ever believed in.