TV Reviews TV Shows

Olive Kitteridge (2014) Review [Spoiler Free]

[Featured Image: HBO]

Olive Kitteridge is a HBO miniseries that aired in 2014. It consists of four one hour parts and is based on the novel of the same name by Elizabeth Stout which was published in 2008. Each part depicts a different point within the novel.

If I were to rate it I would mostly likely give it a 4 out of 5. I had very little complaints about it and it surprised me a lot. The series itself did intrigued me but I honestly didn’t expect it to have such an effect on me.

Although it’s not a necessity I highly recommend watching it all in one, with little to no breaks in between, if at all possible. I ended up watching the first two parts, took a break, then watched the other two later in the day. It allowed for me to remember minor details and it just felt a little more enjoyable to watch it all together.

There are a lot of time jumps, but for the most part it’s easy to keep up with. A title card or something a character says will indicate the passing of time. From doing some research it seems like the novel is split into 13 short stories. The series doesn’t cover all of them just a key few, but it makes the most of those stories, and because the passing of time is easy to keep up with, it all works really well.

One thing I really appreciated was that majority of the story lines we see (even the minor ones that only last for one part) all seem to be of some significant importance to Olive’s (Frances McDormand) overall story line.

olive-kitteridge-2014-review-1230928
[HBO]

The characters. Oh boy, do I love the characters. Most of them seem to get at least some time in the spotlight, and you have a great shot at finding at least one moment where you care about them and want to know more.

With the characters who only seemed to be present for one part, I would find myself wondering where they were and how they were doing. I had a lot of questions and although I didn’t feel disappointed that they were never answered, it would still be nice to know.

One character in particular I was really would like to go back to his Kevin Coulson (John Mullen, and Cory Michael Smith). As a fan of Cory I was looking forward to seeing this character’s story line but I was not expecting to become so invested and feel genuine concern for the character, especially once we stopped seeing him.

2
[HBO]

Even Olive who isn’t the nicest person on the planet has her moments. Part 2 is probably my favourite for this. I found myself agreeing with her on several things and actually found her to be quite funny. For the most part she’s not a main character that you’re going to fall completely in love with, but you’ll still want to follow her story anyway. She’s intriguing and you never quite know what’s going to happen next or how she’s going to react to it.

The story and the characters are all wrapped up in the aesthetic of the show. It’s beautifully filmed. The settings, the cinematography, the colours, the soundtrack, just everything about this miniseries helps to pull it together. Overall it’s surprisingly sad, but you never feel like it’s trying to be too deep. It has messages sure and it covers some pretty hard hitting topics, but it does so in a very real and easy way. Also, don’t worry if you find yourself laughing at inappropriate times. There will be several moments when you’ll question why you’re laughing at such horrible things.

It’s definitely something that you need to experience for yourself. If you like dramas, or simply just want something short(ish) to watch then I highly recommend this. It’s got a great pool of actors including Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Zoe Kazan, Rosemarie DeWitt, Martha Wainwright, John Gallagher Jr., Jesse Plemons, Bill Murray, Peter Mullan, and Cory Michael Smith among others.

Note: this was originally posted over on my creators.co profile but considering it’s closing at some point I’m moving a lot of my old article here.

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