There are a lot of similarities between Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies. First off, all eight episodes of Sharp Objects are directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, the visionary director who brought Big Littles Lies to life (and that was one stunning show). Moreover, Sharp Objects is also based on a novel – this one written by Gillian Flynn, the acclaimed author of Gone Girl. And finally, Objects also features complicated women (creator Marti Noxon also adapted Dietland so no surprise there), and oh how complicated they are.
A Sharp Show
The story of a reporter who returns to the small town she was raised in to investigate a young girl’s kidnapping, Sharp Objects is a dark show drenched in mystery. The pilot’s script raises a lot of questions, and it does so at a captivating pace that reels you in from the start. Predictably, Amy Adam is splendid as our heroine, Camille Preaker. Much like Nicole Kidman and Elisabeth Moss cleaned house over the last two years, Amy Adams will probably win every award in sight next year. Even when there’s no dialogue, Adams conveys so much heartbreak and trauma with a single glance. It’s a phenomenal turn!
Much like he did on Lies, Vallée imbues the show with his signature visual style that gorgeously blends the past and the present to maximum effect. The technique works beautifully here, capably showcasing just how fragmented Camille’s psyche is, and injects the show with a haunting dreamlike quality. It’s a real blink-and-you’ll-miss-it show; every scene is packed with quick cuts and intriguing details that you must remain glued to the screen at all times to catch everything.
A Sharp Cast
Adams is not alone. The Mindy Project’s Chris Messina is perfectly cast as a mysterious detective also investigating the case, while Elizabeth Perkins (whom I adored on Weeds many years ago) makes a hilarious gossip queen who I can’t wait to see more of. Patricia Clarkson is also a standout as Camille’s mother Adora; she’s delightfully unhinged and bizarre.
Bits & Booze
– The opening credits reminded me of Big Little Lies as well, particularly with the shot of Camille driving.
– Wow Camille sure drinks a lot (as evidenced by her falling asleep outside the bar).
– We still need to make sense of a number of flashbacks including: a grinning Camille running away from a pack of boys in the forest, and Camille swimming in the lake and a young boy pointing a gun at her. Hmm…
– Probably the most disturbing thing I’ve seen all week: Camille masturbating at a memory of her stumbling on to a barn filled with pornographic material and bloody animal parts. Yeah it’s seriously unsettling.
– If you thought Camille’s step-dad looked familiar, you would be right. Alan is played by none other than Revenge patriarch Henry Czerny. He was just dastardly on that show but he seems innocent here… so far.
– Did anyone else catch Marian (I think) in the hallway as Adora walked out of Camille’s room? It’s super quick.
– How did Marian die? Was it some stroke? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
– As similar as it is to Lies, this show also gives me True Detectives vibes. So sinister.
– Super creepy moment: Bob Nash telling Camille that he’s happy his daughter was killed and not raped. He’s also convinced her killer was a “faggot” since she wasn’t raped.
– The sight of Nathalie’s body in the alley was just harsh.
– So Camille’s half-sister Amma is also the leader of the mean girls in town. Didn’t see that one coming!
– Heartbreaking scene: Camille going crazy at her sister’s funeral as she tries to wipe the lipstick off her face.
– Love how Camille is always listening to music from that shattered iPhone.
– I actually didn’t notice at first but the episode ends with the reveal that Camille’s body is totally covered in scars, hinting that she cuts herself all over. Suddenly the opening dream with a little version of her poking herself with a sharp object makes so much sense. It’s a bleak ending to a bleak premiere.
Quotes & Camille
Camille: Only real industry is hog butchering, so you got your old money and your trash.
Boss: Which one are you?
Camille: Trash. From old money.
Boss: Could be a damn good story if you do it right.
Camille: No pressure, right?
Boss: Life is pressure. Grow up.
Woman: Little girls, first pink, and then it’s purple, purple, purple. My two looked like grapes on legs until they were eleven or so.
Jackie: I see you met our new detective. I’d like to take him home and turn him into pound cake. Cover him in chocolate.
Willis: Sarcasm. Most I get from your hometown pals is a sugary passive-aggression.
Camille: Well, that is our specialty. We just nod and smile until the out-of-town asshole leaves us alone.
A superbly grim and absorbing start featuring fine performances and an engaging narrative.