Sharp Objects with Amy Adams in the main role, joined by Patricia Clarkson, Eliza Scanlen, and Sophia Lillis. We’re going to analyze the mysteries of the show and, if you finished it and are dying to see more, keep reading because there are some good recommendations coming for you.
The queen of the underworld. When Amma chooses to be the goddess Persephone at that twisted family dinner, she’s left with the most sinister side of that term, which links her to the Christian meaning of hell as the place where bad people are punished for all eternity. It’s also the side that Ulysses meets when, during his Odyssey, he visits the underworld kingdom of the dead and meets his “Iron Queen” there.
Besides, Persephone is a goddess with double life; after being abducted by Hades, the god of death, she ends up dividing her year into two stages of six months: on one hand, she goes up to the surface to be with her mother, Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, during those months spring arrives; on the other hand, she returns to her domains beneath the earth, and her absence brings the winter.
Amma also lives a double existence, one that would not have been out of place in the most ill-fated Twin Peaks, and likewise has two faces, one sunny and pleasant, and the other dark and frosty… and disturbing.
Because that’s the adjective that best defines Sharp Objects: disturbing, unhealthy, and oppressive. It’s a story about evil women who think they’re doing something good or who simply feel good about destroying the lives of those around them, whether metaphorically or literally.
Is Amma that psychotic and manipulative at birth? Or did growing up in that home poisoned by her mother’s own psychological problems, make her grow up to be that way?
A Most Stimulating Scabrous Case
No country for outlanders
Sharp Objects quickly proves that it originated from the same author of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), as it proposes a lurid tale based on the return to the village of a somewhat out-of-date journalist with a motive for the murder of two young girls.
At that point, the first episode of this mini-show raises very well the scenario of a community closed to those who come from outside and obviously affected by the tragedy they are dealing with.
However, the episode does not fall into the error of showing us one or several characters too affected by what happened. In fact, the one who shows more exaggerated reactions is the mother of the protagonist – impeccable Patricia Clarkson controlling what could perfectly well have ended in overreaction -, but more out of fear of seeing how her daughter’s attitude will affect her life there than anything else.
In addition, Camille (Adams) has to deal with the refusal of the police to collaborate. Creating two different narrative lines there as well, since the local chief asked for help when the first case broke out and the methods of both do not fit very well.
There are many details about which a climate of mystery is being built in which one does not end up being very clear about who is one of the good guys and who is not, thus adding more richness to their characters.
He already started to shape up in this first episode, taking advantage of the southern atmosphere as well as the rest of the technical elements to seduce the audience.
The Meaning of Returning Home
What it means to enter the universe of Sharp Objects
Apart from the research, the return of the protagonist to her home also plays an essential role in the plot. In the first episode, we’re given many details about her traumatic past there and how this undoubtedly contaminated her relationship with her mother.
There are certainly still some juicy things being brought out, but it’s also striking that there’s not much talk about the character’s open wounds immediately before she returns to work as a journalist.
As expected, the first episode focuses more on introducing all the characters and there it fits much better to see the impact that the return to Wind Gap has on Camille, but even so, they take it easy, marking what is probably the pace of this eight-episode mini-series.
The fact is that the flashbacks to her childhood – many of you may recognize Sophia Lillis, Beverly from It, giving life to the young version of Camille – are a way of reflecting the effect of the return home for the main character. She’s very well accompanied, so much so that it’s difficult not to praise the work of the entire cast, to make all the scenes work.
But in the end, it’s Adams who takes the show to another level by embodying a character that on the other hand would not have worked at such a high level.
The Sharpest of them All
As just mentioned, actress Amy Adams takes the character to an extreme that is mind-blowing. Her sensitivity is at its peak and she perfectly transmits a wide range of emotions without being upsetting or falling a single second into overreaction.
Vallée manages to squeeze all the sensoriality out of her memories finding beauty in each image: those summer prints, those fingers rubbing against each other, the hair blowing in the wind, or those triggers that activate the memory involuntarily.
It can be a smell, an image, a crack in the wall, or an apparently insignificant detail. Any small memory glitch can lead the protagonist to a moment of unbreathable terror, to absolute peace, or even to the awakening of sexual desire.
Sharp Objects is a very obscure show in which the setting takes on a particular emphasis. They even say at one point that half of Wind Gap is perverse and the other half is crazy. Isn’t this a brutal portrait of America, where a people venerate their founders even though their history is full of atrocities?
Yeah… you know I’m looking forward to the next part. It’s time to check out the recommendations aimed at fighting the anguish you have inside you because of Sharp Objects’ finale. Let’s see what can occupy your precious time.
Big Little Lies
Jean Marc-Vallée’s “first” child
You knew very well that this was going to be the first one we were going to recommend! Big Little Lies cleaned up the floor at the 2018 Golden Globes and was crowned one of the best shows of the year 2017. The secret of its success?
You don’t need to have watched Big Little Lies, this fantastic HBO show, to know exactly what a bomb it is. It’s simply Vallée’s beautiful triumph, that gave us Sharp Objects. The critics and the public are crystal clear:
It’s one of the best TV shows today.
It’s a look at California’s middle and upper classes. In order to do so, the mini-show takes as its focus the social life of the people of Monterrey, the primitive cultural capital of the state, and home to a “healthy” intellectual, business, and artistic elite.
Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz are in charge of bringing to life five very different women, whose common link is the elementary school their respective children attend.
Through the confrontation between two of these women, the glamorous but empty world in which these women live will be revealed to us. A world where social and business success only makes up for existential dissatisfactions that border on neurosis and the accumulation of lies that they tell themselves every day in order to get out of bed every morning.
Let the truth be heard
Unbelievable, created by Sussanah Grant, Michael Chabon, and Ayelet Waldman for Netflix. This intriguing and dramatic mini-show tells the story based on real events of Marie Adler, a young woman who was accused of reporting a rape that no one believed in.
There are stories that are hard to write about. Not for creative or motivational reasons, but for emotional ones. It has happened to us hundreds of times: we have read, seen, and heard stories that shake, paralyze, and move us.
Stories that activate springs, that shape, that force reflection. Stories that change the world because they change us. They are not always grandiloquent stories; sometimes we just need a small one to make a big change. Unbelievable is one of them.
This eight-part Netflix crime drama tells the true-fact-based story of Marie Adler, a young Colorado teenager who was accused of making a false report on a rape charge that no one believed.
Neither the police, nor her friends, nor her surroundings. Only two inspectors and their unwavering determination found the way to the truth that had been taken from her.
Netflix’s release features Kaitlyn Dever, Merritt Wever, and Toni Collette. An unmissable portrait of freedom, hope, and feminism based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning story (An Unbelievable Story of Rape) that ended up becoming a book (A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America) and now a mini-series. If you need to see something this weekend, let it be this.
Boy meets Girl, literally
Joe (Penn Badgley) is a really nice guy. He’s the type of guy who has never hurt a fly, rather shy and in charge of a wonderful bookstore where every book lover would like to spend hours.
He’s one of those individuals that inspires confidence when you see him because he couldn’t have a cleaner look or a better attitude. That’s why we like him. Those of us who watch his show and Beck (Elizabeth Lail), a casual customer.
That’s the start of YOU, the Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble show for Lifetime now available on Netflix. Its story is based on the book by Caroline Kepnes and tells us in 10 chapters the story of this couple.
YOU is a classic “boy meets girl”, in which she is a poetess who tries to make her way and he is a sweetheart who in his free time gives free rein to his obsession. After that first casual meeting where she buys a book among mutual discreet flirtations, he keeps her name.
He introduces himself as the educated person he is and they say goodbye. Fate will bring them together, we would all think. Everyone except Joe, who, not trusting fate, keeps her name and begins their personal relationship.
And it grabs you. It’s a show that gets you glued to the screen because it leads you to debate with yourself. Its main character has all the charm of the world, she is the most gentle being and her boyfriend, who’s a complete idiot.
Within a minute you take sides and know that you want our bookseller and Beck to end up together. And then minute two comes and you’re left with the uncomfortable feeling of when the abuser has won your heart.
My Brilliant Friend (L’amica Geniale)
The strength of the opposite side
Our last recommendation comes from Naples, Italy. My Brilliant Friend (called L’amica Geniale in Italian) is one of those shows that goes unnoticed for the simple reason of its origins and language. But thanks to HBO we have been able to enjoy one of the best and most original creations of the last decade.
Elena (Margherita Mazzucco) and Lila (Gaia Girace) are an ocean of contradictions. Every decision they make and every mistake they make tells a story; the steps they take on their path depend not only on their opposite – and complementary – characters but also on their pasts, the environment in which they live, and the opportunities each one has.
It’s easy to judge them, to criticize their choices, and to ask ourselves why they act as they do at certain times, but it’s very easy to understand them if we try to put ourselves in their shoes and are aware of the moment in which they live.
The show is was marked by their encounters and misunderstandings, by the inevitable jealousy they feel for each other and which is fed by how much they admire each other: they never think they are up to their great friend.
That’s why when they hurt each other, and they do it constantly, without being able to avoid it, our hearts shrink. Between the two of them, an obstacle that seemed insurmountable was placed in this new stage: Nino Sarratore (Francesco Serpico).
The love triangle seems a cliché, but between Lila and Elena, everything is always more complex than it seems, what Sarratore represents is intellectual ambition; paradoxically because he has turned out to be a mediocrity who is not up to either of the two.
Unlike its predecessor Big Little Lies, however, Sharp Objects will absolutely not be returning for a second season. During a Television Critics Association panel, HBO president of programming Casey Bloys revealed the reasoning behind stopping the show after a single season.
Although it may seem like a true story, the show is fictional and not based on any real life events.
The actress Eliza Scanlen sees Amma as more than just a murderous psychopath. … “While she is a psychopath and while she does have a lot of demons, she is just a little girl in the end.” She said that it was important for her to like Amma in spite of the character’s actions.
The haunted town of Wind Gap, Missouri, surrounded by woods and missing children. It’s a town in Gillian Flynn’s novel and it came to life in the show.
Although it’s part of the HBO universe, you can watch it on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and YouTube. You can also purchase the show on Blu-ray and DVD.
I know that sometimes it feels like we’re cheating on the show that just ended. All those nostalgic feelings are still there, but let’s be realistic… Given that there are so many good options, why not go crazy and continue to fill ourselves up with fantastic drama and excitement?
Sure, Sharp Objects is a gem, but the recommendations I’ve given you are equally as good. You’ll see that none of them will disappoint you since we are currently living the golden age of TV shows. So, hurry up and don’t miss out!
If you don’t know where to start, then obviously give Big Little Lies a try as Jean-Marc Vallée left us his essence in both shows. Though if you want to try something more exotic, then try My Brilliant Friend and let yourself be carried away by sweet and pure emotions. Then all you have to do is watch the other two, which is nothing.