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
Rather than an explicit film review, I'd like to lend some substantiation to the content of it. First, I knew little about the mini-series when I began watching but, I'll check out anything Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins are in.
After 30 minutes or so I almost changed the channel because it was all too familiar I had already lived a similar story .so it was going to be a tough movie for me. But, I stuck it out because I guess some part of me felt that I needed to see it. I'm glad I did.
One of the very important aspects of the movie is the WAY Olive is portrayed. What I mean is that most people (incl many Doctors) remain significantly unaware of the spectrum of depression behavior. People think it only has to do with sadness, withdrawal, hopelessness, etc. But, it affects some people in mostly other ways and, therefore, is often unrealized.
I come from a family of depressed people but most of them don't know they are. We are like Olive in that we're working, functioning people but who also have very little patience, irritability, varying degrees of paranoia and anger, an overall negative outlook and quick physical fatigue. Doesn't sound like the typical descriptions of clinical depression, does it? However, read those symptoms a second time and notice that they all do have a common thread ..a feeling of futility.
My siblings and I grew up in such a competitive, negative household with only a random crumb of encouragement and plenty of verbal undercutting from every direction. There was no Henry (the buffer) in my house. Now in my 50's I understand that mental illness was the driver behind most of it. But, you know what folks? It's amazing how people adapt to their own mean-spirited, glass-half-empty attitudes and feel like it's normal (because for them and their family members, it is!). Whereas Olive had some understanding that she was depressed, she either didn't REALLY get it or thought that by sheer force of will she could manage it. She had adapted to it; it was her norm. I think that happens to lots of people. But, it is a really sad path because, like her adult son, I too have been helped *enormously* by medication. It has made all the difference and I feel so lucky to be alive in an era that these medicines are available! The symptoms I mention above in paragraph 4 are primarily gone in me now. It has been an absolute life-changer. Olive and many others never seek the help and that is SO tragic. As is the fact that people pull away when you have those difficult behaviors, like her son did. Depressed people are hard to reason with and are cloudy in general, that is why they need help. A clinically depressed person cannot WILL themselves out of it any more than someone can will away diabetes, thyroid disease, epilepsy, etc.
The reviewer below, rich muller, didn't seem to watch the mini-series very closely. Of course some of them are miserable characters! They are struggling mightily with a physical problem; their brain is not balanced right. Mr. Muller would be cranky too, if he also had this issue, left untreated.
This is a very relevant film for providing both a broader view of what clinical depression can look like and the varying life outcomes depending on choices made of how to handle the condition.
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