OLIVE KITTERIDGE (2014) - This was an HBO miniseries based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Elizabeth Stout, directed by Lisa Cholodenko (THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT and Emmy winner for this production) with a screenplay by playwright Jane Anderson, herself a multiple award winner for her screenplays and plays (including an Emmy Award for this adaptation). This is filmmaking of the highest order and virtually everyone involved won Emmy Awards (eight Emmys in total) for their contribution to this extraordinary adaptation of a most beloved novel. First of all, Olive Kitteridge, played brilliantly by Frances McDormand, is not Betty Crocker or June Cleaver or any of the American housewife ideals that we as a society would deem lovable and acceptable. What she is, is an irascible, crabby, difficult, pain in the ass, wonderful, sensitive person who is so hard to peg that at times it was all I could to keep from shouting at the character on screen. Frances McDormand again proves why she is an American treasure, right up there with Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyke, as the crème de la crème of American actresses (and actually not just American for this is a performance even Helen Mirren would envy). The rest of the cast is to die for, with Richard Jenkins as Olive’s husband, Henry (Emmy winner as Best Actor in a Limited Series for this role), Zoe Kazan, Rosemarie DeWitt, Martha Wainwright, John Gallagher Jr., Cory Michael Smith (especially excellent), Bill Murray (brilliant and an Emmy Award winner for this role as Best Supporting Actor), Peter Mullan and a host of the world’s finest actors in all the roles concerned. Frances McDormand upon winning the Emmy Award as Best Actress in a Limited Series for this role entered the rarified domain of actresses who have won as Best Actress the Academy Award (OSCAR for FARGO), the Antoinette Perry Award (TONY for the play GOOD PEOPLE) and the Emmy Award. In addition, OLIVE KITTERIDGE won the Emmy for Best Limited or Mini-Series of the Year. The four hour film is divided into four parts each depicting a certain period of time and is well worth your time in viewing especially if you read the book. Hollywood rarely gets it right when adapting a beloved novel and this is one time when they did. ***** 5 STARS
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