Series | English | 1 Season (6 episodes). Each episode is between 45 and 55 minutes. | Original Release: 2017
Set in 19th century Canada, “Alias Grace” is about convicted murderess Grace Marks. Grace left Ireland as a child on a filthy, unhealthy ship that took the life of her mother. In Canada, Grace finds work in a country estate owned by Thomas Kinnear and managed by Nancy Montgomery, a vindictive person who treats Grace badly. Also working on the estate is James McDermott, a bitter stable man with a hatred for both Nancy and Kinnear. When things become unbearable, McDermott tells Grace that the only solution is to murder both Nancy and Kinnear. Although Grace is appalled with the idea, she looks on while McDermott does the killing. At the trial, McDermott testifies that it was Grace who coerced him to do the killing. McDermott is hanged and Grace receives a life sentence. After 15 years in prison, a church group, headed by Reverend Verrenger, begins to feel that Grace may be innocent. The Reverend hires a psychiatrist, Dr. Simon Jordan, to evaluate Grace hoping Dr.Jordan’s report will result in a pardon. Through long hours of psychoanalysis, Dr. Jordan learns of Grace’s troubled past and her troubling amnesia. The Reverend implores Dr. Jordan to finalize and submit his report. But Dr. Jordan is conflicted: Is Grace innocent, guilty, or maybe she’s simply insane?
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 99%
- Metacritic Score: 81
Canadian Screen Awards: Winner Best Limited Series
Directors Guild of Canada: Winner, Best Movie for Television and Mini-Series
Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards: Winner, Best Cinematography in a TV Drama
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“ALIAS GRACE,” the new Netflix drama, is a must watch TV for the current moment. Grace is the interpreter for this world, and her viewpoint, however unreliable, is the dominant one. But director Harron makes choices that also distinguish the show from other crime dramas. There are no slow creeps of the camera, no graphic images of sexual violence. The only things we learn are the things Grace feels comfortable telling. “ALIAS GRACE” is discomfiting, compelling, deeply insightful television.
“ALIAS GRACE” is a story about storytelling—one character compares Grace with Scheherazade—which makes Ms. Gadon essential to its success. She is mesmerizing. She plays Grace as a timid child and a toughened inmate, and she brings both of them to Grace’s wary testimony. The screenwriter, Sarah Polley, turns the adaptation into a sinuous, layered script that is constantly aware of what is being said, to whom and why.
An astonishing feat of translation by writer Sarah Polley and a powerful and subtle performance by Sarah Gadon.
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