A look at a seemingly placid New England town that is actually wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, all told through the lens of Olive, whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and staunch moral center. The story spans 25 years and focuses on Olive's relationships with her husband, Henry, the good-hearted and kindly town pharmacist; their son, Christopher, who resents his mother's approach to parenting; and other members of their community. Written by
Frances McDormand is Olive Kitteridge, a hard-core no-nonsense New Englander dealing with a case of inner turmoil manifesting in bouts of indigestion and an impolite, abrupt attitude. Not a sweet woman, and not unlike some sour school teachers I knew in New Hampshire.
The supporting cast is fantastic. Richard Jenkins as Olive's husband Henry Kitteridge is spot on. John Gallagher Jr. as their son portrays a young man's dynamic struggle to accept his parents and their ways. Cory Michael Smith's portrayal of the older Kevin Coulson is amazing, and it is hoped we see more of him in future roles.
Some of the bit parts are charming. Ann Dowd as the Kitteridge's friend Bonnie Newton shines as what one might think a genuine Downeasterner. Martha Wainwright appears repeatedly as Angela O'Meara, a pianist and singer all dolled up and performing in the restaurant piano bars, lending some levity to the darkness.
There are a large number of great actors and actresses giving excellent performances, which provide this drama with a vastness going beyond the usual character development. It is not a cute romantic comedy or anything like that, so if you're looking for something lighter Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks starred in some very nice films. This is not like any of that, it's a truly remarkable work of art.
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