The Act (2019) (miniseries)

This miniseries dramatization of the murder case of DeeDee Blanchard starts off strong, but over the course of its eight episodes, it slowly starts to drag until it runs out of steam ahead of its conclusion. The many scenes of psychological, physical and medical abuse that Blanchard inflicted upon her daughter in an ongoing effort to scam a variety of children’s charities (which has prompted a post-death diagnosis of munchausen by proxy) are so well-acted and well-constructed, that the viewer can’t help but feel a torrent of sympathy for DeeDee’s daughter Gypsy Rose, and an overwhelming disgust for DeeDee herself. As DeeDee, Patricia Arquette tears into her role with her usual gusto, but she’s restricted by DeeDee’s limited character development, and her accent is so pronounced that it’s distracting. Luckily, King is extraordinary as Gypsy, and she’s well-matched by first-rate supporting performances all around, including a cast-against-type Chloe Sevigny, a committed Juliette Lewis and an unsettling, deeply conflicted Calum Worthy as Gypsy’s boyfriend. It’s definitely worth watching for true crime fans and general audiences alike, it’s just not without its momentum-halting flaws along the way.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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