First off, before I start my review, can we just thank the universe real quick for Led Zeppelin?
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s dive into Sharp Objects.
I read the novel, Sharp Objects, around four years ago. I remember it was during my edgy-phase of being heavily addicted to David Fincher’s films. One of his films that I had latched onto during the time was his marvelous adaptation of Gone Girl, which encouraged me to read Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel. And as one could predict, I immediately read Flynn’s previous two novels, Sharp Objects and Dark Places afterwords, both which were breathtaking mystery noirs.
Jean-Marc Vallée’s reimbursement of Sharp Objects exceeded my expectations. Given the fact that Gillian Flynn wasn’t even going to be the screenwriter for this project—and given the scenarios of how exceptional the movie, Gone Girl, turned out to be (which Flynn screenwrote) and how flimsy the movie, Dark Places, turned out to be (which Flynn did not screenwrite) I was petrified that Sharp Objects was going to be shelved under as another tame interpretation of Flynn’s exquisitely yet, irregularly gruesome storytelling brawn. I was double pleading that a TV adaptation—of Flynn’s shortest book might I remind y’all—would somehow, rock my socks off.
Luckily, HBO—this generation’s finest gift of streaming entertainment—has offered us the perfect recreation of a critically acclaimed, socially impactful anecdote of a female character offered in a role not particularly swayed by the occasional stereotypes. Sharp Objects is a beefy tale of a woman daring to cut edges into her darkest of secrets through a shrewd and ghastly murder case.
This adaptation is nearly a beat by beat rework of Gillian Flynn’s—minus the well, obvious age changes for the teenaged girls who were around 13/14 in the novel and now around 16/17 in the show (which I think is for the best). If there were any adjustments done, it would only be in account for the nimble-fingered additions the show has to offer. This is including but not limited to, the plotlines of Camille’s patient roommate, the festival sequence, the separate ganders for the smaller characters, etc.. These inclusions elevated the story to new heights that the novel never explored which is something that should ALWAYS be treasured in book-to-screen adaptations.
Amy Adams got snubbed at the Globes. She does not have a single, dull moment in this flick where she didn’t seem in character. Yes, she’s a bit of a type-cast in some instances (always playing the unsettled, mild-behaving lady who has a secret?) but, hey, if she’s tremendous at playing her more habitual roles then why not do more of them? Also, side-note but, the makeup they used for her “body scars” are insanely gruesome.
Patricia Clarkson earned her Golden Globe. Her character portrayal was literally stripped from the pages of Flynn’s novel. She delivers a haunting, disarranging depiction of a mother in grave desperation of being a forever-long caregiver.
The girl who played Amma killed it. Even though some of the dialogue she was strained to say was a bit absurd or unbelievable, she manages to make it operate fearsomely. I adore how she renders this unordinary yet, popular teen that is in a position of tussle between choosing a life of innocence and a life of unholiness. Good job—hold up, let me do a quick IMDb search—Eliza Scanlen. Wait, what the heck? You’re 20 in real life???
The rest of the assemble does a splendid job as well in their roles. The only slight complaint I have in terms of roles is with the overinflated character, Jackie O’Neill—who is additionally an issue for me in the novel. She is played serviceably by Elizabeth Perkins but, her all-inclusive character presence appeared fanciful to me. I’m not saying there aren’t people like her out there—cause trust me, there are—but, I’m just saying I didn’t buy her absurdly confident attitude she maintained continuously while she was stumbling upon such serious conditions.
Okay, ‘nough said about the performances. Time to praise the cinematography. The pronounced green colored set pieces and lighting filters ultimately, reflect substantial amounts of the film’s bewitching flare. The photography fits the tone of the story gloriously.
Sharp Objects features one of the most visually fitting intro credits ever. The intro plays a different song in each episode and it caused me to NEVER want to skip it. It had me spinning in a spiderweb of awe.
The editing is blessedly seamless. Some of the most effective, haunting usages of cuts ever put to television that mightily caused the film to flow so flawlessly. It’s a gosh-dang river of cohesiveness.
Sharp Objects contains the best soundtrack in a TV show, period. The mix of classic rock and modern, tranquil electronic music was a penetrating amalgamation to prolonging the show’s plaguing yet, edgy tone.
I think the biggest lesson we can learn from the success of Sharp Objects, is that filmmakers should consider that adapting a book into a TV Show—especially a lengthy one—might result in a more fleshed-out and sufficient recreation compared to restlessly condensing it into a limited runtime of a film. The show manages to be just as riveting as its source material—if not better!—and that’s miserably something you don’t see every day in the world of cinematic achievements. (Verdict: A-)
I like how Sophia Lillis, the girl from It, plays young Camille. I’m pleased that the auteurs chose her because she legitimately looks like she could be a young Amy Adams, NOT a young Jessica Chastain, who plays the older version of her in the upcoming It: Chapter 2. Not all Gingers look alike folks.
“Sharp Objects” is available to rent or buy on HBO Now, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and HBO Go.