I’ve been looking forward to two things about summer 2018: Beach trips and Sharp Objects. It’s been a long wait, but the first episode did not disappoint.
Of course the combination of HBO production + Big Little Lies ties + Amy Angelface Adams was enough to win my viewership off the bat. But the real draw for me is the story, because my author crush Gillan Flynn gives the dead-girl-small-town trope a Southern gothic spin that’s extra dark and twisty and delightfully morbid. My experience reading the book was a little like having a 48-hour bug, because I consumed it feverishly and felt kind of sick to my stomach the whole time. I love dark and twisty, but Flynn doles it out at a pace that even I struggle with sometimes. In other words, this story should make for fantastic TV.
Hot ginger Amy Adams plays troubled reporter Camille Preaker, a sad sack with great hair and dark circles who is always covered up with dreary colors – not unlike how I’d describe my winter 2017 style. Her soft drawl and “sugary passive aggression” are hiding heaps of unresolved trauma, as evidenced by the trail of mini bottles and empty candy wrapper messes she leaves in her wake. She practically drags herself through each scene and appears to self-medicate with Led Zeppelin. When we see that she’d rather take a bath in a hotel tub than return to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, we know things must be pretty bad.
Camille’s editor tasks her with writing up a feature piece touting Wind Gap’s bucolic charms, but there’s not much nice to say about this east-Jesus-nowhere hog-slaughtering town populated by old money and trash, and lately missing and dead girls have been popping up like perennials.
No wonder Camille didn’t want to return home, because her family’s Victorian mansion is a tense time warp with the creep favor of a haunted house. Maybe it’s from watching The Handmaid’s Tale, but lately I’m all about some gloomy throwback mansions full of repressed misery and vintage floral wallpaper. And then we have Patricia Clarkson, who plays the best worst mom, dropping lines like “Don’t you embarrass me” and sounding emotionally manipulative AF. She’s going to be amazing, I can tell. Oh and Elizabeth Perkins is here?? How could we be so lucky??
Since Camille’s character narrates the novel, it’s compelling to watch how effectively Adams conveys her perspective without giving much in the way of exposition. I love how she brings so much sympathy and quiet dignity to her complicated heroines like Camille, who says little but radiates a palpable sense of dread in each scene. She’s so consumed by her past that flashbacks and snippets of her eerie childhood memories flow suddenly and constantly into her present, especially as she returns to those haunted spaces.
The dream-like quality of Camille’s point of view makes Sharp Objects instantly more interesting than your standard procedural. And since I already know the sick spoilers, I cannot wait to see how it all plays out on screen.
- OMG Camille’s hair. Between her and Sandra Oh I’m really digging the incredible curl representation among female leads lately.
- The children of this town are hella creepy, just running around giggling and chasing each other and looking menacing as hell. If I remember the book correctly, this story is yet another reminder of how glad I am to not be a teenager right now. Amma might be the embodiment of everything that scares me about Gen-Z.
- I would totally hang out at that bar on karaoke night.