Olive Kit­teridge

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Star­ring Frances McDor­mand and Richard Jenk­ins Sun­day (check list­ings for time) HBO

out of five finest act­ing that will be seen on TV or movie screens this year. McDor­mand, who also served as an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer (along with the Play­tone Pic­tures tan­dem of Tom Hanks and Gary Goet­z­man) on the se­ries, de­liv­ers a per­for­mance that is in­tense but re­strained, lay­ered and com­plex, and filled with tiny, per­fect mo­ments in which the wounded hu­man­ity of an ex­traor­di­nar­ily or­di­nary woman is laid bare. Jenk­ins is her equal as Henry, who some­how main­tains an op­ti­mistic out­look while liv­ing out his till-deathdo-us-part com­mit­ment to the most pes­simistic part­ner imag­in­able. He knows, deep down inside, that Olive loves him as much as he loves her, de­spite the sad fact that she won’t out­wardly ex­press it un­til it’s too late for him to ap­pre­ci­ate the sen­ti­ment. Bill Mur­ray makes an ap­pear­ance in the sec­ond half of the se­ries; his role isn’t all that large, but it has a big im­pact on the story, and he quickly shows that he, too, in a uniquely Bill Mur­ray-ish kind of way, is fully up to the chal­lenge of spar­ring with McDor­mand’s testy Olive. While it is, at its heart, a very small story about the day-to-day strug­gles of av­er­age peo­ple, Olive Kit­teridge also ex­plores some big is­sues, in­clud­ing the true na­ture of love and for­give­ness and the un­avoid­able bur­dens of fam­ily his­tory and in­her­ited men­tal ill­ness. It isn’t fun. Not for a mo­ment. But Olive Kit­teridge is, with­out a doubt, a TV drama of great sub­stance. Whether you watch or not is just one of those lit­tle choices that we all have to make.

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