PHYSI­CIAN, HEAL THYSELF

India Today - - LEISURE - —Moeena Halim

In­spired by the epony­mous 1982 Fleet­wood Mac ti­tle track, the Net­flix orig­i­nal Gypsy traces ther­a­pist Jean Hol­loway’s (Naomi Watts) strug­gles with com­mit­ment and her ob­ses­sive com­pul­sion to con­trol others (and live their lives). Overly fix­ated on her pa­tient’s prob­lems, Jean spends most nights on very un­eth­i­cal follow-ups, which al­lows her an es­cape from sub­ur­ban life with her lov­ing and loyal hus­band Michael Hol­loway (Billy Crudup) and nine-year-old daugh­ter Dolly.

The vi­su­als are ef­fec­tively used to trans­form the viewer into a voyeur—watch­ing Jean have sex with her hus­band from be­hind a closet door, or walk­ing through her home as we lis­ten to her voice. Jean’s ob­ses­sion with Sid­ney, a pa­tient’s ex-girl­friend, is made ob­vi­ous right off the bat. To meet Sid­ney, Jean pre­tends to be a jour­nal­ist. But de­spite the ob­ses­sion, Jean’s ro­mance with Sid­ney is so drawn-out, it seems like it’s never go­ing to hap­pen—per­haps this might have been a more con­vinc­ing nar­ra­tive, since Jean wants to be Sid­ney more than she wants to be with her. The show squan­ders this promis­ing start, how­ever, and be­gins to me­an­der mid­way through the 10-episode se­ries. When Jean fi­nally does make her move, the viewer is more likely to feel re­lief than any tit­il­la­tion.

Jean thrives in her web of lies, steals quite com­fort­ably, and mas­ter­fully ma­nip­u­lates every­one around her. As a ther­a­pist, she is well aware that dis­play­ing em­pa­thy and re­morse will win her brownie points and she al­ways uses that to her ad­van­tage.

Per­for­mances, in­clud­ing that of Poorna Jag­ganathan who plays Watts’ best friend and col­league, are con­vinc­ing. But forced di­a­logue and plod­ding nar­ra­tive fail to sus­tain the se­ries over its full run.

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