According to the criteria of
Big (Kate Winslet) is the girl who, now a police officer, decided to stay in her village. She didn’t go to town like Clarice (Jodie Foster) from “The Silence of the Innocents.” This series, directed by Craig Zobel, is about those who stayed. It is about a very young woman, mother, and grandmother, who lives and works, with more or less dignity, in a peripheral town, where the sweetest intimacy is interspersed with the crudest squalor.
SIGHT: “Mare of Easttown”: 5 reasons to start watching the brightest series of 2021
The comparison to the Jonathan Demme film is relevant for more than one reason – the movie buff will even discover a re-enactment of a key sequence. But the main reason is the delineation of the female heroine. Something that goes in parallel to a change of era. Foster’s Clarice represented the independent young woman who, in her confrontation with evil, learns to be a policeman in a man’s world.
Instead, Mare de Winslet is a mature woman, with a teenage daughter and a tragically deceased son, who lives with her grandson and mother, while accepting separation from her husband. What in the nineties could be novel, with a Jodie Foster so feminine and fragile, stoic in the effort to appropriate a traditionally masculine role; now she is changing for another challenge: shamelessly displaying the marks of the passing of the years, and being a policewoman as strong as she is in need of affection, neither idealized nor demonized.
The greatest triumph of this miniseries lies in the configuration of the protagonist, a character so rich that it seems to overshadow interest in others. In an exercise in sabotage that rejects any Hollywood styling of her own beauty, we see Winslet gaining weight, with wrinkles and little makeup, in keeping with the portrait of a small-town cop. There is no glamor in it, or anything grotesque. Just a real woman.
But the triumph of this character also has to do with the configuration of a complex psychology. Mare’s character, tough and cynical, seems obstinate in not wanting to move forward, or to overcome the traumas or fears that afflict her. She is haunted by her past, in the form of the son of tragic destiny. But also his present, with his divorce and unsolved crimes. Next to her, the pillars that could go away, her daughter, her grandson, and her own mother.
Mare of Easttown, however, has more to offer. The mystery surrounding the initial crime is very successful, with a convincing portrait of the working class, which also includes a still minority Afro-American population. The drugs, the secret pregnancies, the lies and deceptions that intertwine everyone, are wrapped in a patina of violence that is usually buried. Graphic violence, on the other hand, becomes more bloody in its omission.
The detective film look, with two twisted investigations – the murder of a young girl and the disappearance of some prostitutes – is carried out with the prudent dosage of an episode narrative. However, the most important thing is in the details that Mare’s examination of her own town flies over, almost as if unaware of it, in an observation that also leads her to look inside herself.
It was hard to come up with a female version of film noir antiheroes. That is, adult women who display their wounds, who are attractive in their harshness and sullenness, and who can be seen from the sides, also corrupt, weak, tormented. Sometimes only the best actresses can achieve a counterpart that is also original, and that gives a little light to a new femininity. This is the case of Kate Winslet. Screenwriter Brad Ingelsby and filmmaker Craig Zobel made an excellent setting for that show.
Original title: Mare of Easttown (7-episode miniseries, HBO)
Gender: Drama, thriller
Country and year: USA
Director: Craig Zobel
Actors: Kate Winslet, Evan Peters, Sosie Bacon, David Denman
Qualification: ★★★ and 1/2 out of a total of 5.