Olive Kitteridge (DVD)
Based on Elizabeth Strout's Pulitizer Prize winning book, the four-part Emmy Award-winning HBO mini-series stars Frances McDormand in a title role she was born to play.
Olive Kitteridge is an indomitable middle-school teacher, wife and mother who lives with her husband “ Henry (played by Richard Jenkins), the town's pharmacist “ and their son Christopher in rural Maine.
The stunning scenery, from the canopies of light-dappled forests to the smashing violence of waves on rocky coastlines, plays backdrop to this portrait of a marriage, and by extension the larger community around the Kitteridges, that suffers more than its fair share of unhappiness, miscommunication and tragedies.
Olive and Henry's marriage is far from perfect “ this is made glaringly clear in this first episode, Pharmacy', with its focus on Henry's infatuation with Denise (Zoe Kazan), his young assistant at work, a wide-eyed “ quite literally, her huge glasses obscuring half her face “ innocent who leans heavily on her employer after she's widowed.
Not that Olive is a woman scorned. Both parties in the marriage have their secrets “ Olive has a long running but ultimately unconsummated affair with a fellow teacher, a man in the gruffness of whom Olive has met her match, perfectly played by Peter Mullan in another piece of inspired casting “ and the resentments that have built up between the married couple over the years are brought sharply to the fore in the third episode A Different Road'after an innocent trip to the ER turns into a life threatening showdown with an armed robber.
The series is a wonderfully rich achievement, the team managing to stay both true to the source material, but also creating an original work of their own, and it's the perfect vehicle for McDormand, who manages to capture the complexity of her character down to the tale told by each and every line on her face.
What the press said
"Brilliant. Soulful and wise. 5 STARS" “ Telegraph
"A darkly knotted mess of lust, crime, affairs and heartbreak Frances McDormand is coldly convincing in this painful tale of a woman's life unravelling in picturesque New England" “ Guardian
Release Date: 9th Feb 2015
No. Discs: 2 DVDs
Running Time: 3hrs 51