It is a rare occurence where Hollywood or television depict a woman who is complex. Who is mean, flawed and not necessarily likable. Especially if we are talking about the lead character. As far as we have come (and as far as we still need to go) in regards to the portrayal of women on screen, we seem to still find women of this variety unsavoury and, as such, unwatchable. Dunno why. It just is the way. That being said, movies or programs with so-called “difficult” women tend to be highly watchable in my books and HBO’s Sharp Objects perfectly illustrates that.
A journalist working at the St. Louis Chronicle is not thrilled when her boss (Miguel Sandoval – Jurassic Park, Get Shorty) assigns her to a story in her hometown of Wind Gap. Camille (Amy Adams – Doubt, American Hustle) grew up in the rural town of Wind Gap and is now returning to cover the murder of two teenage girls.
Homecoming is not grand for Camille. Even her mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson – The Green Mile, Far From Heaven) is not thrilled to see her. The two women clash almost from the get-go. As she struggles to find out the truth behind the deaths of the two girls her own mental state is precarious. She is fresh out of a short stay at a psych facility and drinks too much. Everything she is doing seems to rip the scabs off of old wounds.
Much is going on beneath the surface in this small town. Detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina – Argo, Ruby Sparks) is assigned to the case and he and Camille butt heads often. He, intrigued by her, tries to find out as much as he can about the journalist. Camille and her step-sister Amma (Eliza Scanlen – from television’s Home and Away) really bond, which does not seem to sit well with Adora. Besides writing the story, it seems touch and go as to whether Camille will survive this trip home.
With excuses for repeating myself, but once again Amy Adams proves herself to be a talented actress. She is able to play a wide range of characters. Camille is a new one again for her. Damaged and filled with plenty of demons, Camille is a big ask and Adams does it with a naturalness you don’t often get to see. The character she plays is drunk most of the time and highly damaged from a past unresolved trauma. Constant tension between daughter and mother.
Dark and atmospheric, this is a different kind of series. Not a pleasant or easy watch. Visually beautiful and filled with plenty of cool contemporary and older music. The way it is filmed adds to the feeling of unease that persists while you watch this 8-part mini series. Flashbacks and other cool things happen which heighten everything going on.
Adapted from a 2006 novel, Sharp Objects is unusual, but not in a bad way. Often creepy and disturbing. Identity of the killer kept hidden until the very last minute. Leaves you rather shocked. Highly recommend to those who like psychological thrillers.
-Creating Wind Gap
-Inside the Mind of Gillian Flynn
-Anatomy of a Scene: Calhoun Day