Alias Grace Net­flix

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - TELEVISION & RADIO -

M ARGARET AT­WOOD fans wait four decades for a TV se­ries based on her books, then two come along at once. Fol­low­ing The Hand­maid’s Tale, this adap­ta­tion of At­wood’s 1996 novel is another strik­ing story about a young woman in a state­ment bon­net in a rigid and re­pressed pa­tri­ar­chal sys­tem – but, as adapted by writer Sarah Pol­ley and di­rec­tor Mary Har­ron, it’s very dif­fer­ent, and more elu­sive in tone. Set in mid-1800s Canada, Ir­ish im­mi­grant Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) was once a ser­vant girl, but has been in prison for the bloody mur­der of her em­ploy­ers, a no­to­ri­ous crime that has made her a celebrity, and a fig­ure of in­trigue. Con­sid­er­ing a par­don, the in­sti­tu­tion’s head calls in a psy­chi­a­trist, Dr Si­mon Jor­dan (Ed­ward Hol­croft) for his opin­ion on her san­ity. Grad­u­ally, as their in­ter­views progress, frag­ments of Grace’s past come out – but the ques­tions of whether she is in­no­cent, guilty, or telling the truth at all grow murkier. Gadon is mes­meris­ing, while faces like Anna Paquin and David Cro­nen­berg keep the sup­port­ing cast in­ter­est­ing.

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