Last Sunday we saw Sarah Polley win an Oscar for her screenplay for ‘They Talk’, an adaptation of the novel by Miriam Toews that maintains the tradition of rewarding interesting artists with their less interesting work. It’s not that she lacks appreciable values in the film (a few come right out of the script), but she feels that something is missing from this registry change that one of the most striking voices of the American indie of this century performs towards the drama of “prestige”.
A mystery of the mind
It is felt that it is missing because, in order to denounce oppressive situations around women and explore turbulent psychological states, his previous work is more lucid. Although he does not direct it, his imprint can be seen in the phenomenal adaptation from ‘Alias Grace’, adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel about a true crime that took place in Upper Canada in the 19th century.
In the miniseries we see the interviews that a doctor conducts with the young Irish immigrant who gives the series its name, convicted of brutally murdering her boss even though she doesn’t remember him. It is unquestionable that she has, but her mind seems to have erased that part of her memories. Or, at least, the doctor will have to find out if she really has forgotten.
The cryptic nature of his Alias Grace is an object of fascination for this character who serves as a guide in the story, managing to spread his interest in deciphering the indecipherable. Interactions are measured very carefully and exquisite sobriety, without losing intrigue in exploring the psychological state of the character. Polley’s script is given perfectly by the hand of a Mary Harron (‘American Psycho’) skilfully contained from the address.
But if the series ends up convincing, it is because of the work of Sarah Gadon as the titular character. That she has not been rained leading roles after this work is a mystery, because none of the ambiguous and tricky narration of the character would work without that knowing how to measure the gestures, the enunciation of the words or the looks. All this The complexity of the subject to explore supports you and, by extension, the entire series.
It is a series that has many elements to pull from. Inequalities in treatment based on sex, class struggles, taking the law into their own hands and the price to pay. All told with an elegance and tension absent from Polley’s latest film, perfectly distributed over six episodes that don’t go much longer than forty minutes on average (before Peak TV and Netflix decided that the hour per chapter was the model to follow). It even gives us a David Cronenberg with nineteenth-century sideburns. One of the best miniseries the platform has ever produced.
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