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Sunday
Aug192018

Sharp Objects: Episode 6 "Cherry"

by Nathaniel R

As you may have noticed we've been passing Sharp Objects around baton style amongst the team. I'm offended, offended I say, that Chris didn't spend 1000 words and nearly as many screen caps or gifs on that filthy filthy sex scene between Amy Adams and Chris Messina in the previous episode "Closer". In truth I nearly abandoned the series after my second episode duties were done but then I began to feel guilty that I was abandoning my teammates without commenting on their pieces so I binged the past four episodes back-to-back and finally perked up once, ahem, Messina did...

Which is to say that though I'm not exactly a fan of the series, I'm totally curious about it. 

And I have learned to key in on elements that I find interesting to get me through. First and foremost is its unusually complicated sense of humor. When it's not going straight for gallows humor, there's a mischevious facetious bent, and other times it's strictly character-trait based. The two funniest bits this episode provide perfect examples. There was a frighteningly retrograde conversation about womanhood among Camille's now middle-aged high-school friends followed by a clink of glasses and a "girlpower" quip from Camille (facetious). Any scene between Adora and her husband offers rich character-driven humor. It's amazing that these scenes can be completely placcid on the surface yet feel enormously agitated (neat combo!). Adora's remark about Camille's car "Even the lawn is not safe from her" had me giggling as did her passive aggressive "Let her know how you feel about it. please." That's code for 'Do my dirty work and let her know how I feel about it, only leave me out of it.' 

Though Patty Clarkson is one of my favorite actors I'm not always sure what she's aiming for with Adora. Is she meant to be as self-medicated as Camille (but hiding it better), or just very exhausted to the point of frailty by her daughter? Two things she is selling well and in quite disturbing fashion are her seething resentment of Camille -- for being alive, since her other daughter isn't -- and her unexamined queen bee privilege of wealth and position. She swans around like she owns the whole town and everyone in it, as if they're completely unworthy to consider... unless she happens to feel like considering them, but even then only as an extension of her duty given her position in the community.

The plot of this series still isn't for me -- is there a plot? -- but I've even come to be amused by the show's enormously blunt titular metaphors like this episode's cherry, sweet on the outside with a hard cold pit. Speaking of which Amy ate half of the pie herself. Attagirl. 

And how perfect was her tiny actorly business in this scene with the fork, lifting it like an exasperate "what?" and then dropping it in the dish when her memories have ruined the moment for her.

Speaking of memories, the editing techniques aren't quite new for a Jean-Marc Vallée project, but it turns out they're effective here. At the very list Vallée and his editors are 1000% commited to amplifying the idea that shards of memories are always falling on us as we free associate any moment we're living with any other moment it might have reminded us of. The memories aren't always pleasant and sometimes they cut. 

The show also sharp edges too and it's rarely pleasant. Yet, we are awarded for our perserverance with lots of fine acting (it took awhile to see the full emotional range Amy is managing within Camille's self-medicated numbness but it's there; she really is a major talent) and lots of fine Chris Messina. Thank you, show.

Adams and Messina have great chemistry, and chemistry that feels much different than the last time around (Julie & Julia) as befits these closed-off, fish out of water characters. 

Now that I'm on Sharp Objects wavelength, or rather thereabouts, I'm definitely enjoying it more. Still and all eight hours of this is a bit much x 4, since it's nearly all atmosphere. There are some movies that would actually benefit from being a miniseries but there are just as many miniseries that could probably work much better with the discipline of a movie's length.  

it's not safe here for you"

The episode ended with an extended scene between Camille and her equally troubled sister, both getting high, and skating home where only one of them is wanted and neither of them actually want to be. When Sharp Objects works, as it does in this scene, it feels like a lucid dream, perpetually daring itself to become a nightmare.

ICYMI previous recaps
1 "Vanish" by Spencer
2 "Dirt" by Nathaniel
3 "Fix" by Ilich
4 "Ripe" by Murtada
5 "Closer" by Chris

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Reader Comments (12)

This one captures drug use well but the plot? Four hours to find a bike in a pig shit pond? Sad. I am glad there are only two more but I think this would have been better served by a two hour movie - eight hours for this story is six too much.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJono

It’s very strange! I don’t hate this show, I don’t love it, and I don’t like it. It’s fine, sometimes good, and sometimes mediocre all at once. Really looking forward to it being over.

I think the thing that bothers me the most is that we have to take the characters’ word on the character of Wind Gap. Its reputation is almost all talk. Unlike shows like Twin Peaks or Gilmore Girls that successfully portray their respective towns’ setting as character.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Thank you so much for your review. I have trouble even putting the episodes into words. All I know is that I love the moody and sometimes creepy tone of the show. And I love Amy Adams. I have sort of given up "guessing the ending" because I have a feeling there may not be one. Some really fine supporting acting. Patricia Clarkson is so moody (there's that word again) and the actress who plays Amma is wonderful too.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrrrich7

Cherry was the best episode so far after closer, this show is jean-marc vallee's masterpeice, and amy adams, patty clarkson and eliza scanlen's acting is magnificent.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterArghavan

As someone who has read the book and knows the ending, this is really a great, great adaptation. If they follow through with who killed those girls, this show will definitely be a great re-watch. :)

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermikenewq

The pacing of the show seems to be dividing people, but I have to say I'm actually enjoying how drawn out things are and I think all of the actors are doing amazing work, even in the smaller parts.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

I really love this show its surrealist small town fever dream aeshetic , a bleaky psychological drama character stydy desguised of a murder mystery , everybody is damaged and self-destructive. Eliza Scanlen gives a chilly magnetic performance as the deceitful Amma and Amy Adams, always great, delivers to perfection her fascinating anti-heroine, Camille.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

Eliza Scanlen has a big career ahead of her.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSoSue

8 hours is way too much for this material. It just keeps hitting the same beats over and over. C'mon Vallée, wrap it up!

And the way HBO blurred out Chris Messina's naughty bits in this and the previous episode looked incredibly cheap. Either recut the damn scene or show the goods. (Preferably the latter).

Eliza Scanlen is incredible. Didn't know she was Australian...

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStan M.

I WANT to like this show, but admit I'm a little bored despite the great performances of the three main female characters. 4 or 6 episodes would have done it. Also, is there NOTHING for Elizabeth Perkins or Beth Broderick to do (I didn't read the book so not sure what happens)?

Plus, I know it's not fair to compare, but I loved Happy Valley, Killing Eve, and Big Little Lies so much, everything else just doesn't measure up. Sigh.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I know she has little to do, but Elizabeth Perkins is outperforming all but Scanlen.(Not counting Adams who is the lead) . Despite looking the part Clarkson is just fine. Despite not looking the part, i’d Love a Perkins Adora, repurpose that cold Weeds mother character.

August 19, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterolivar

I agree this series seems a little too padded but I think there's too much for for a movie. Like someone else said, 4-6 episodes would've been just fine.

But there is so much to enjoy it's hard to get too upset at it. This particular episode, however, was a bit of a bore that barely moved the story forward at all.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

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