The Act is a limited drama series on Amazon Prime starring Joey King and Patricia Arquette. The series is based on true events of the case of Dee Dee Blanchard’s murder. The reason I wanted to watch the series in the first place was that I was already interested in the case and familiar with the events. So, I thought it would be interesting to watch it in this form as an alternative to documentaries. The series is generally hard to watch at times and is quite shocking and twisted. What makes it more difficult is knowing this is based on a true story.
The series follows the life of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who has been trapped in her mother Dee Dee’s care, where she pretends her daughter has many horrible and life-threatening illnesses to get money out of others and charities. To name a few, that she can’t walk without a wheelchair, needs a feeding tube, is allergic to sugar, has cancer, and leukemia. In reality, Gypsy was completely healthy. Gypsy starts to piece things together and resents her mother. She then meets a guy on a Christian dating site named Nick who struggles with a split personality disorder. From one toxic relationship to another, she asks him to kill her mother so that they can run away together. From there he commits murder and they run away to his mother’s house, only for them to be taken to jail.
The show is crazy and sometimes unbelievable, which is why it’s hard to comprehend that these events actually happened. The show itself is pretty slow, there are eight episodes but it could have easily been condensed to 5 or 6. I also thought the actor choices were smart and accurate. Joey King puts on an incredible performance for this role, showing that she can do these deeper roles. Honestly, I did not like her other work before this especially the Kissing Booth franchise, so seeing her in this gave me a different perspective of her abilities as an actor.
Joey King was nominated for a primetime Emmy, and Patricia Arquette won both an Emmy and Golden Globes award for her supporting role as Dee Dee. I think a performance I was surprised by was Calum Worthy. I haven’t seen him on screen since his days on the Disney Channel show Austin and Ally so it was cool and weird to see him in such a different and dark role by comparison.
Visually, I liked the way the series was presented where they skip to the future (2015), hinting that there is a bigger picture and more to come. I like this especially in the beginning when it doesn’t seem all too bad yet. Then as you get more into all the things that are happening behind the scenes, you are kind of just waiting for when someone is going to flip the switch. I also liked the way the film was shot and they did a good job with different shot types and use of colour, for example, all the houses in their neighbourhood.
Overall, I liked this show and it really leaves you thinking. It is an insane and unique case/crime and since I already knew about it, it was interesting to see it in a different format. I definitely recommend it to an older audience, not appropriate for kids of course. The series is available on Amazon Prime with STARZ, so if you do not already have it I would definitely do the free trial for this show.