Film Review

HBO’s Mare Of Easttown

HBO has another unbelievable strong drama on their hands in Craig Zobel’s Mare Of Easttown, a season of television so good, so emotionally winding and narratively compelling on all fronts that I’m still processing it weeks later and just haven’t felt qualified or equipped to write a review on. It’s one of those shows that I’ll gladly take another season of but if not that’s cool too because the story here is so wonderfully encapsulated into one single season that it feels appropriately bookended and self contained in one sensational eight episode run. Kate Winslet has to be one of the greatest of her generation as an artist and she simply outdoes herself here in a stunning turn as Mare, a long suffering police detective in a troubled working class borough of Pennsylvania who has just about enough distressing things in both her personal and professional life as one human being can take. She’s trying to solve the murder of a local girl who turns up dead in a river one morning and also can’t let go of the cold case where another girl went missing a year ago.. are they connected? Meanwhile she’s trying to cope with trauma she hasn’t even properly processed yet in her family, manage a stormy relationship with her mother (Jean Smart, superb as ever), raise her wonderful teenage daughter (Angourie Rice, brilliant) right as the three of them struggle to look after her grandson. I won’t go too much into the interpersonal relationships because they’re so intricate, unorthodox and painfully realistic you just have to explore them for yourselves and despite being intimidatingly complicated as a narrative web, the show somehow manages to juggle them all concisely so that you have a clear, mosaic like sprawl of who relates to who and very well developed characters who are acted flawlessly all across the board by a beautiful cast in a sort of ‘rust belt gothic true Detective deep drama’ recipe. The story is damn near perfect, juggling the procedural and personal aspects intuitively and seamlessly for an experience that feels raw, down to earth and relatable. I will warn you that this one one bleak, depressing and emotionally pulverizing experience, one that isn’t afraid to fully show, in complicated and upsetting minutia, how human beings suffer, hurt each other, make horrible mistakes, are dealt unfair and rough hands in life and how they attempt, bit by bit, to work through their pain, struggle forward and move on through the difficult times towards something hopefully better. It’s dark, it’s relentless, it’s an emotional gauntlet to walk through but it’s not without it’s catharsis, lessons learned and just enough light at the end of the tunnel. Pretty much perfect as far as I’m concerned.

-Nate Hill

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