Journalist Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) works for the not-too-successful St. Louis Chronicle. Camilla does not write particularly well and also drinks heavily in an attempt to deal with the various demons in her soul.
One day, Editor-in-Chief Frank Curry (Miguel Sandoval) summons her and informs her that in her hometown of Wind Gap, located in southern Missouri, the second murder of a young girl in a year has been committed. Some time ago, in another publication, there was a very popular article by a journalist who went to his hometown, where a serial killer was operating. Such things, Frank says to Camille, are very well received by the public. So go there and write an article. And at the same time, Frank hints, maybe in your hometown you will somehow cope with your problems.
Camilla is terribly reluctant to go to Wind Gap, from where she fled many years ago, but she has no choice – Frank is completely adamant. Camilla gets ready, stuffs a couple of bottles of vodka into her bag to keep her entertained on the road, gets into her old Volvo and heads south.
Wind Gap. A small sleepy town that lives mainly on raising and slaughtering livestock. The town is divided into the descendants of the former aristocracy, who are highly respected in the city, and outright dregs of society. When Frank asks which group Camille belongs to, the girl replies that she is from the dregs. In the sense of the dregs of the hereditary aristocracy.
Camilla has no money for a hotel, so she has to stay in a large Victorian mansion owned by her mother, Adora Crellin (Petricia Clarkson) – she is one of the most respected aristocrats in the city. Also living in the mansion are Camille’s stepfather Alan (Henry Czerny) and the journalist’s sister, Adora and Alan’s daughter Emma (Eliza Scanlen).
Adora is obviously not happy to see Camille, but outward decorum makes her treat her daughter with icy courtesy. Camilla settles in her childhood home and relives what she once had to endure.
She also oversees an investigation led by local police chief Bill Vickery (Matt Craven) and Kansas City-sent Detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina).
Sharp Objects is the debut novel by Gillian Flynn, author of the acclaimed novel Gone Girl, which was made into a film of the same name. At first, the horror studio Blumhouse intended to buy the rights to its adaptation: horror was clearly visible in the original novel.
But at some point, the idea came up to make a series out of this, and actress Amy Adams (two Golden Globes won, six Golden Globe nominations, six Oscar nominations), who became one of the producers of the series, became actively interested in the project. and played a major role in it. The director was Canadian Jean-Marc Valle, the creator of the sensational 2017 series Big Little Lies, which also dealt with the murder and several families connected with this murder in one way or another.
The series “Sharp Objects” although it has a certain detective component – the investigation of the murders of teenagers – but it is not the basis of the whole action. The style of “Sharp Objects” is more of a horror. With the help of various flashbacks, viewers are told about Camilla’s childhood, about what she had to go through in this huge mansion, and also about what Adora Crellin is, Camilla’s mother, who is respected and feared by the whole city.
In general, I must say that women are the main characters of this series. The men here are clearly not in the foreground, but rather present purely for furniture. The local police chief trembles before Adora, and even a sense of duty cannot overcome this gentle flutter. A visiting policeman is trying to investigate something, but gets stuck in this stuffy swamp, besides, the locals are extremely suspicious of any strangers and are not inclined to cooperate with them.
The editor-in-chief who sent Camille to her hometown to “rediscover herself” appears more as a voice on the phone, and even his appearance as Deus Ex Machina makes little difference.
Well, this stepfather of Camilla Alan is a kind of polished and at the same time a very homely music lover who, like Adora, is constantly pumped up with alcohol, it’s just that the spouses do it majestically and aristocratically and drink expensive whiskeys, not vodka – he also doesn’t solve anything and obviously afraid of his wife. And he knows very well what she does.
The central core of the series is the confrontation between Camilla and Adora. In general, from the very first episode of their meeting, it is clear that Adora is the cause of Camilla’s extremely unstable psychological state. Flashbacks gradually show what happened then, but the current relationship between mother and daughter is very frightening, although Adora seems to behave softly and almost meekly. But behind this external meekness there is such an iron will and such a desire to subjugate everyone and everything that it will be extremely difficult for Camille to get out of all this.
The second important moment in the plot is Camilla’s relationship with her younger sister Emma, whom she did not know before her arrival. With Emma there, too, everything is very, very difficult. The girl walks around the house in children’s, almost doll-like costumes, Adore never contradicts, and outside the house she dresses like Lolita, lights up on roller skates with her girlfriends and, in general, God knows what she is doing. Camilla and Emma are gradually getting closer, but Camilla cannot “read” Emma – she is on her own mind.
Amy Adams played Camille perfectly – she really got used to this character. Where did the magical princess from “Enchanted” go? Dressing sloppily, not looking after herself, with terrible cuts on her body (she cuts herself to cope with the nightmare that surrounds her), being literally under the hypnotic influence of her mother, although she is trying to fight it – the character turned out to be very bright and interesting .
In an interview, Amy said that HBO seemed to be considering ordering a second season of this series – I note, despite the relative completeness of the first season – but she categorically refused to play Camilla again, because this role was very difficult for her purely psychologically. And you can understand her – she gives all the best there.
By the way, in a couple of reviews I read that Amy allegedly had a lot of personal things in this role, because she supposedly grew up in a large Mormon family with very strict rules. I rummaged through her biography: I did not find anything of the kind, except that she had six brothers and sisters. Amy is the daughter of a military man, relations in the family were very good: they rode bicycles, went hiking, and most importantly, the whole family put on home performances, the scripts of which were written by their father. So no strictness and no Mormons appeared in her childhood, these are all inventions of critics.
Petrisha Clarkson as Adora is amazing! I remember this actress well from the wonderful film “The Station Agent”, where she played along with Peter Dinklage and Bobby Cannavale. There she had the role of a strange artist with big psychological problems.
Here is an even more bizarre image: an aristocrat who actually influences everything that happens in the city, speaking in a quiet voice and behaving very well-mannered, at the same time she is very frightening, because you understand that there is something very sinister behind this quiet voice.
I really liked this role – the character is very non-standard, Petrisha played it just brilliantly! And, by the way, she won a Golden Globe for her in the Best Supporting Actress category.
Eliza Scanlen looked very good as Emma, Camilla’s sister. The character is very ambivalent and two-faced – either an unfortunate child, or an evil spoiled child. However, what other girl could grow up in this fucking family?
Well, from the female roles, the appearance of the most colorful Elizabeth Perkins (freaky Celia Hodes from the series “Jobs”) was very pleased: she played Jackie O’Neill here – a lonely aristocrat who is accepted in Adora’s house and who knew Camilla from childhood. There is an interesting episode in the seventh episode when Camille comes to Jackie’s house to discuss some things.
As I said, the detective component is not the main thing here. Therefore, the director concentrates on the atmosphere of this strange place, where rich Victorian mansions coexist with outright slums, where there is one bar for the whole city, and any stranger here looks like an extremely foreign body.
Here is a very interesting and unusual montage – in fact, the director himself worked on it, and this is his corporate style: a bizarre and bewitching combination of some kind of visions, flashbacks, terrible pictures that tell about what happened then – and this is all in fact you get stuck, which creates a very peculiar feeling. And the audience does not always understand where the reality is, and where the visions of Camille are.
The whole atmosphere of the town is slow and viscous, respectively, and the action in the series goes slowly: the images and the mood created by the picture rather work here. And with the mood – the farther, the more viewers envelop this sticky and stuffy town, these strange and frightening memories of Camilla.
However, I agree with some reviewers who say that in the middle of the series the action noticeably sags and that if it were shortened by a couple of episodes, it would still look more dynamic. Yes, there are several episodes that can be shortened, but, however, closer to the last three episodes, everything is swinging well and you watch it all with great interest.
In general, I liked it. Very atmospheric, whimsical, gloomy, but gloomy with meaning, and not just to catch up on horror. And excellent acting work – especially Amy Adams and Petrisha Clarkson.
And it’s good that there won’t be a second season – well, a second season is absolutely not needed here.
Sharp Objects serie meaning
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee Cast: Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Henry Czerny, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Matt Craven, Taylor John Smith, Madison Davenport, Miguel Sandoval, Sophia Lillis
Series, USA, 2018, 60 min. 1 season, 8 episodes.