Oh, the times they called me Mary in the past, because in their distorted minds they thought I looked like Jessica Biel, Mary in Seventh Heaven. I was always responding “I wish” (also because I never had either her body or her perfect lips)… then I must have grown up or something and poof, it ended; whatever happened people just started saying I looked like someone else. How about I look like… me? Also, why do you feel like you need to tell people who they resemble more? Did the doctor prescribed you to do so? I mean… But anyway… all things considered, by now I think I should have something around thirty people all looking like my-crazy-self all over the world. I wonder what happened to just those other six of us who should look like us, according to science. Wasn’t there supposed to be only 7 look-alike of ours on planet Earth? Unless I am an alien, and that would actually explain a lot.
Jokes apart, I did it again. I binge watched. Well I never stopped of course, but here I am ready to write it down. Moving back and forth, oceans, continents, cities, towns, flights, houses, annoying people, crazy fellows, foooood, …you know all this being all over the place puts you on hold, but then oops. You’re waiting for your Amazon Fresh delivery to get to your door and you have some spare time, so why not using it to talk about one of the last shows you binge watched lately? Said, done. Why have I started talking about Mary and Jessica Biel then? Why yeah, isn’t it obvious? It is because the tv-show I am going to review here, now, is The Sinner, on Netflix, starring her, Jessica Biel, (who is also an executive producer), Bill Pullman and …others. Dots connected yet?
Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 94% with an Average Audience Score of 85% liking the show, Metacritic stays on 71% but you have to consider there is NO negative reviews so far, and Imdb rates it for 8/10. I mean, The Handmaid’s Tale got almost the same numbers and we’re almost done with season 2. I wonder if there will be a season 2 for The Sinner, but I doubt it will focus on Jessica’s character any longer, for reasons I can’t explain (I don’t need to spoil this for you). Still, there is always a way as they say, the show must go on, and if a second season gets requested either by the network or by the fans (this is going crazy lately having shows getting reborn thanks to popular demand, look at #luciferonfox #savelucifer #bringbacklucifer #luciferreborn etc), one way or the other it will be done.
I loved Jessica Biel in this role. The whole story is a nice story that, before checking it out, I felt it had to be coming from a book, but if it weren’t for Jessica’s performance, I would have probably quit watching the series. Yeah no, ok, that was a lie. I never quit. I would have watched the whole series but I may have not spent a second to write about it. No wait, that is not true either. I would have probably written about it, complaining and saying how much I hated it. Oh wait no, ok whatever, I cannot know what I may or may not have done, but as far as I am concerned I did watch it and I am now talking about it, so let’s go back to what I was saying about Jessica’s Cora. Something was not quite right during the first minutes of episode one. I thought, either she is failing the role or something odd will happen. Guess what was it? Indeed, the second. So going back to how I felt when I started watching the show now I say: yasss, Jessica. You gave us that feeling of discomfort, of feeling like “why is she acting so weird?” (acting in both senses, literal and not literal) and also of wanting to know what was going to happen next.
She was almost drowning in the water when she eventually comes out looking all twisted; she suddenly kills a guy -she hears a song this guy and a group of friends were listening to that makes her lose her mind- she stabs him, she scares everyone to death and boom, we are not even halfway through the episode and you think “hmm, interesting“, now I see. “The title was misleading, she is not the sinner, wanna bet?” No. Don’t. You’re wrong. The whole sinner reference will come up with the passing of the time and the new episodes, just be patient. What actually overwhelmed me a little was that the setting of the show is today, but it felt like it was set in the seventies or something. The story goes back in time, we see Cora and her disturbed and disturbing childhood because of her religious fanatic mother, we see her through adolescence and up until now, but the most important time frame is no longer than five years, from 2012 to 2017. But then again, it’s 2018 and we still have people believing the Earth is flat and stuff like that, so I don’t know why it would surprise me that a similar family would actually exist during the nineties and the beginning of the twenty-first century… but it does, ok? It shocks me. Fine, I’ll kneel on little rocks and ask for forgiveness.
The show focuses on Cora’s motive to kill this guy who, since the beginning, you basically want to hate because he is accused of raping her in 2012, although it is a lie and we get to know this right away. To be honest, it seemed like Cora was hiding something, willingly, making up motives, excuses, wrong memories, mismatching not only facts but also names, but you will eventually feel a sort of relief by the end of the series. I particularly appreciated how a story that started as a simple whydunit (after all we know who did what, how and where) turns out to be the story of a traumatized person who eventually loses it, and it is not even her fault. I want to underline this is not at all related to actual murderers, and I am not even justifying murderous impulse on sick people. What appeared from the very beginning of the show, although of course she actually killed someone at the end of the day, was that this Cora girl was somehow half innocent, we just needed to know more and figure out how we can even think of a killer as “innocent”. I promised not to spoil this to those who haven’t seen it yet, so I cannot go further into details, except from saying this, and it may or may bot be linked to the series, so no blame: there will come a day when people will pay for their own actual mistakes without having someone else cover for them. Not only “to cover up” in the sense of hiding the truth, but also letting someone else destroy his or her life because of the consequences that these mistakes have created to the third parties. I don’t know if I made sense with this, but trying not to spoil a movie or a tv-show by talking about it, is hard, folks. Hard.
Trauma and traumatic experiences, the way they act on the human brain and the tools that our psyche uses to cope with it (and I will never get tired of repeating this), is something that we need to study, to understand and to let people be aware of, just like what is happening with mental problems, suicide, depression and mental health awareness. I feel like this show was all about trauma, abuse, violence, drugs, and yes, even mental health, so really, get a chance and watch it, and if you want to make ME happy, just binge watch it right away: 8 episodes go by rrrreally quick.
Genre: they want to call it “crime-mystery drama”
Based on: The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr
Starring: Jessica Biel, Christopher Abbott, Dohn Norwood, Abby Miller, Bill Pullman, Jacob Pitts
Watched on: Netflix
One season, Eight Episodes binge watched in: one afternoon, evening, night.
Let’s see, how am I supposed to review this series? One word: disturbing. As I said before, what started as a crime investigation on a sudden murder committed in public on a beach, turns out to be an investigation on abuse and sick events that hijacked a person’s mental stability and life. Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) is married to Mason, they work at the Tannetti’s company and Mason’s mother takes care of their little child. Cora seems to be tired, (maybe a postpartum depression? you would think) something is bothering her as she is on medications and she does not seem to enjoy sex with her husband anymore. One day, they are at the beach, Cora goes for a swim and she is not coming back when her husband starts worrying. Eventually she gets out of the water and she starts feeding her child, cutting fruit and chatting with her husband, letting the audience sense a little envy while they watch two couples having fun next to them, playing music, kissing and flirting. The most obnoxious girl in the world (ed.) plays a song on her phone (which I actually kind of liked) and starts kissing the guy veeeery passionately, I mean, not be prude, but in public you could at least be a little more discreet. This seems to trigger something inside Cora, along with the song she seems to recall in her head, and she starts being delusional, she runs towards them and she stabs the man with a fruit knife 7 times, killing him. There is no apparent reason for her to do so, just a sudden homicidal instinct.
When Cora is taken to the police station, a detective sees something in her behavior that does not link to her accuse of premeditated murder, and he starts researching until he’s led to find out the truth taking out some traumas from her past. Each episode disentangles details from Cora’s youth and life ruined by a mother who is a religious fanatic who claims that Cora’s actions are the cause for her sister Phoebe’s (Nadia Alexander) lymphoma, and she needs to constantly pray and be a good girl in order for her sister to heal (now seriously how f* up is this? Sick!). Even more twisted than their mother, Phoebe seems to be taking a little bit too much advantage of her sister with the excuse of being sick, to the point that she forces her to go out with guys and more. She creates an online profile where she picks up her sister’s dates so they can rob them and save money to leave home and go to Florida and we also see when sick (literally and mentally at this point) Phoebe forces her sister to masturbate her in order for her to feel what it is like. After all, she stole all her mother’s energy in the womb and that’s why Phoebe is sick, so she owes it to her. See? Disturbing. Super sick. We’re pretty much at the stage where we start to sympathize for this poor girl who yes, has killed a guy, but she was also raised in guilt and abuse and whatsoever, so no wonder she is traumatized. All the things that happen later with J.D (Who?), Maddie (what?), Frankie (Really?), private club houses (wait what? sex?), masked abusers (now, seriously?) and odd detective’s behaviors (oh come on!) cannot be disclosed for spoiling reasons… just watch it and then we can discuss about it. Enjoy.
Oh well, I just found out in August I’ll have to binge watch season 2, where there will be Carrie Coon, you know, from The Leftovers?! Wait, haven’t I reviewed it yet? Bad BWQ, bad. Now I know what to do next.