HBO’s “Sharp Objects” strikes serious emotional chords

Amy Adams’ new mini-series makes an impression with complicated, gut-wrenching storylines.


Kacey Connolly, Contributor

In an entertainment world filled with a wide variety of award-winning TV shows, Amy Adams’ new HBO mini-series “Sharp Objects” might possibly beat them all.

Director Jean-Marc Vallee creates a beautiful adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel “Sharp Objects,” taking a first-person point of view and developing it into the multiple perspectives of each character.

Adams, one of the show’s executive producers, plays reporter Camille Preaker who journeys back to her small hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri to uncover a series of murder mysteries while tackling her own demons as well, revealing the dark and twisted side of her acting abilities to her viewers. Throughout the show, Adams’ character maintains a closed-off, yet insecure persona. She portrays a broken down woman fighting her cold relationship with her mother Adora Crellin (Patricia Clarkson), and a horrifying past full of grief.

Amy Adams as reporter Camille Preaker in “Sharp Objects” (Photo:

The role of Camille Preaker couldn’t have been an easy task for Adams’ to take on, but she did so stunningly. Often times actors and actresses get stuck playing the same role in different movies over and over again, or playing one memorable role and forever carrying that label with them. Although Adams’ past cinema history is scattered with iconic roles like Giselle from “Enchanted” and Sydney Prosser in “American Hustle,” she manages to stray far from the usual.

Alongside Adams’ great performance is 19-year-old Eliza Scanlen in her acting debut as Preaker’s younger sister Amma Crellin. Although Adams’ long history of acting prepared her, Scanlen had little experience in the industry beforehand yet stood equal to her elder’s talent.

Scanlen’s character Amma is an ambitious role to tackle, portraying teenage innocence while hiding devious intent. When comparing different scenes, specifically one with Amma showing her sister her self-made dollhouse verse Amma’s theatre rehearsal when she tries seducing her teacher, Scanlen’s ability to create two convincing personalities within the same character not only draws viewers in, but keeps them intrigued.

Although actors Chris Messina as Detective Richard Willis and Miguel Sandoval as editor Frank Curry played key roles in the series, Taylor John Smith as John Keene leads in male performances. Smith’s character is the older brother of the second murder victim in Wind Gap, portraying a broken young man burdened with accusations and ugly town gossip.

Despite the well done male performances, it was truly Adams, Scanlen and Clarkson who made the show. The unique yet disturbing bond between these family members switched erratically from a clear lack of love to forceful motherly comforting, keeping the plot suspenseful. In a series littered with difficult themes of abuse, self-harm and trauma, these women captured it all as one unit while playing vastly different roles.

This TV series, like many others, pokes at the dark parts of people who find interest in the disturbing stories of murder, psychosis and troubled childhoods, but strays from the norm with its extravagant and intricate plot. That is not to be taken lightly, though; a truly iconic show it may be, much of it is difficult to not only watch, but grasp an understanding of, as well.

Email Kacey Connolly at [email protected].

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