Friday, December 1, 2017

Now on Netflix: Alias Grace (2017)

Alias Grace (2017) - Directed by Mary Harron; Written by Margaret Atwood, Sarah Polley; Starring Sarah Gadon, Edward Holcroft, Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, David Cronenberg.

By Kenny Howell

Margaret Atwood is slowly taking over TV, and TV is all the better for it.

While Alias Grace is not Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, it is another solid story adapted from Atwood's work.

In this one, Grace, played by Sarah Gadon (11.22.63), is a young woman that has been imprisoned for several years for murders when she was a teenager. She is a sideshow attraction, a murderess, that draws the attention of the community around her, some which have her come work in their homes. A psychiatrist named Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) is brought in to see if Grace may be insane, and pardoned from her crimes.

The story plays out over Grace and Dr. Jordan's conversations as she recounts the events that led to the murders. Dr. Jordan is very interested in Grace's dreams, but she becomes a tough mind to crack, which weighs on Dr. Jordan.

The series was adapted by terrific actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell), alongside Atwood. It pops as much as her film work does, and along with Director Mary Harron they really allow the actors to do their work. Gadon and Holcroft are excellent together, and the best scenes are just their conversations, Gadon the sweet, damaged confessioner, and Holcroft the patient, but breaking listener. They do terrific work together, and it is one of the many highlights of this very solid adaptation of the Atwood work.

The first season of Alias Grace is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

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