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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review: Love & Death - Limited Series

Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore had a lot in common: They sang together in the Methodist church choir, their daughters were best friends, and their husbands had good jobs working for technology companies in the north Dallas suburbs known as Silicon Prairie. But beneath the placid surface of their seemingly perfect lives, both women simmered with unspoken frustrations and unanswered desires.

Elizabeth Olsen, Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, Lily Rabe, Tom Pelphrey, Patrick Fugit,  Elizabeth Marvel.

Love & Death takes a couple episodes to get going, but when it does, the series shines in its phenomenal performances and thrilling directing. Elizabeth Olsen is once again proving to be one of the most talented actress’ today, along with Jesse Plemons who delivers a fantastic supporting performance.

It’s important to note that the series is based on a true story & no matter how engaging Elizabeth Olsen plays Candy, not to side with her actions and outcome. The writer & director treats Candy as a loving mother to begin with, but through its editing and Olsen’s unnerving performance, this opinion is swiftly swayed. While we may not side with Candy, we certainly side with how brilliant Olsen is on display here. Her dynamic & chemistry with Jesse is another highlight of the series, every glance with one another feeling more and more intense.

While I found the cinematography to be rather basic, its aesthetic, production design & grading sell the 70’s setting and the feeling of lust wonderfully. The music is rather somber most the time, but as events start to tighten, the score builds and gets in your head. As well as the sound design & editing complimenting one another extremely well, particularly in the first & fourth episode.

However, the series underutilises its style of editing introduced in the first episode that I thought was very unique and refreshing for a thriller. This style sent shivers down my spine and built anticipation for the series to get incredibly intense. And while it certainly was tense, I felt that with many murder stories that have come before from Max & HBO, the series didn’t live up to their intensity.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, I won’t be the one to ruin & spoil it. But the series certainly deals with the duality of both adultery & murder. And Elizabeth’s extremely intense performance in the second half of the series that was an experience to witness, it’ll be a shock if she wasn’t nominated at the Emmy’s. She is certainly the standout in a well rounded, performed cast. The script could use a little work, it feels a little too familiar at times and there’s no standout dialogue. But I never felt that it wasted time on details that weren’t necessary, or built up character. And just when you think they’re holding back on the violence, they shock you with an extremely graphic and memorable moment.

In conclusion, Love & Death is a terrific limited series that deals with an awfully conflicting story. While it could be argued the series is carried by Olsen’s wonderful performance, it’s hard to deny that its entire cast and crew are giving it their all. It may not be the perfect season, it’s one that I wouldn’t be opposed to revisiting in the future. It’s an Emmy contender for sure.

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