The Act is action packed with disturbance

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Hulu

The Act is a Hulu Original Series based on the true crime story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, directed by Jennifer Bielstein, which will throw you down a rabbit hole of disturbance and horror while keeping you on the edge of your seat.

 

The first episode opens at an interview with Gypsy (Joey King) and her mother Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette) after receiving a home from Habitat for Humanity. Immediately, tension and creepy innocence is apparent in the light pink walls lined with stuffed animals, the stare of a princess portrait, and Dee Dee’s controlling behavior. These sentiments don’t disappear; as we discover with Gypsy more about the cause of her suffering and disturbing coping methods like dabbling into violent promiscuous acts and eventually murder, this horror is drilled deeper and deeper until you endure the agony and anxiety with her. Even the joyous moments like a fun makeover or a Disney convention are overshadowed by dark lies.

 

This aspect of horror is both enriching and stifling to the series, in that it successfully evokes emotion from the viewer but it is heavily imbalanced in that there is no happy relief. Constantly, Gypsy endures either a pathetic attempt at escaping her suffering whether it be running away with a potential boyfriend or sneaking out of her mother’s grasp to indulge, or she is so restrained both emotionally and physically by her mother that it depresses the viewer. The only dabble of joy would be when Gypsy finally reunites with her father (Cliff Chamberlain) and lies are resolved. Nonetheless, the series has fantastic cinematography and sets which reinforce the emotions the acting conveys. Moreover, the acting is authentic from every character, and any forced behavior like Dee Dee’s sweet southern voice prove to be intentional in the end.

 

The series perpetuates how people cope with suffering and how it tempts them toward wickedness and tactlessness, and how intense care can morph into cruelty or isolation and restraint into dangerous rebellion. It humanizes each character, placing an empathy in the viewer that can terrify by itself. If you enjoy suspense, murder mysteries, and can handle being uncomfortable, this show is a quintessential choice.