Sharp Objects: Vanish
July 9, 2018 10:18 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), a reporter for the St. Louis Chronicle, is assigned to her rural hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to file a story about two missing girls. The assignment takes her back to her childhood home under the critical eye of her mother (Patricia Clarkson), a small-town socialite, forcing Camille to confront past trauma.

A new HBO miniseries based on the 2006 Gillian Flynn novel.
posted by roger ackroyd (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So far so good! I'm very curious to see what the fan motif represents.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:31 PM on July 9, 2018

Ooh, I was looking forward to this - not disappointed.

I like that Amy Adams gets to explore a very different role than ones that she's usually played in the past (although her 'American Hustle' character was also messed up and desperately unhappy).

A bit of a derail - having visited Merritt, BC (pop ~7k, logging town mostly) today, it seems like all the kids were just as up to date with social trends despite being in a smaller town - the characterization here feels a little off (rollerskates?!). Clothing/ stylistic choices also seem more dated much like small towns compared to cities I visited back in the '90s.

Is the culture gap in youth actually a thing in the (generally more) conservative rural/ South? I guess some of it could be "old (but not very much, really*) money" vs "trash" thing.

*big fish little pond/ it's relative
posted by porpoise at 9:12 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Great vibe overall. I had the same thoughts about the skates. The music too. There are lots of little bits and pieces of culture presented here that made me feel like the show takes place in the America that time forgot. If this is really a representative view of Trump land... it explains a lot.

Stray thoughts: (1) The younger version of the main character looks so much like Amy Adams I thought it was her in a wig at first. (2) That was a helluva spooky reveal at the end. I'll definitely be watching this show.
posted by xammerboy at 9:42 PM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I totally had to IMDBed that to see if Amy Adams had a wig/ scenes filmed later or if there was a "young" Camille.

Sophia Lillis seems interesting.

I like your take on it - 'America that time forgot' - that the discrepancies might be authorial intent.

Would love to get some perspective of mefites who are more familiar with the area (rural Missouri civic center); I recall that someone(s) lambasted 'Ozark' (S2 Aug31) for its lack of authenticity.
posted by porpoise at 10:31 PM on July 9, 2018

Now that I think about it, the show likely takes place in 2006. Still, everything seems a bit outdated. When the main character was driving home she started the day listening to Led Zeppelin and ended her drive late at night listening to... Led Zeppelin. That reminded me of the times I used to drive with just one music tape in the car and would listen to it for hours on end. But for a book written in 2006, the themes are spot on for 2018.
posted by xammerboy at 10:26 PM on July 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

The excuse I have the for the rollerskating is that it's something to draw a parallel from young Camille (and her sister) to the girls in the town of the present. Though I'll admit that it does seem strange...but also there can't be much for young people to do in a town like that, somehow more than one generation has latched onto rollerskating I guess? Maybe Amma (who seems a little strange herself at this point, living under Patricia Clarkson's overprotective roof) is straight up using Camille's old skates and she recruited her friends?

I was mesmerized by this. Can't wait to see where it goes. The realism in Jean-Marc Vallee's filmmaking style led me to have a visceral emotional reaction when they found the body in the alley...That was absolutely horrifying.
posted by doctornecessiter at 12:09 PM on July 11, 2018

Oh, and something that maybe is only interesting to me and other fans of 90s political thrillers: This is a Clear and Present Danger reunion, for Camille's stepdad (Henry Czerny) and boss (Miguel Sandoval)! What's up, Ritter and Escobedo!
posted by doctornecessiter at 12:14 PM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

The anachronism seems pervasive to me and part of a more general effect of surrealism. The dialogue: the way Amma says, "This dollhouse is my fancy." I'm not sure if that is old-fashioned or just very weirdly mannered. It struck me in the book, and even more so onscreen. I keep thinking of David Lynch, or some of Stephen King's work.
posted by BibiRose at 10:59 AM on July 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

That hour of television made me unrelentingly anxious.

The roller-skates bugged me. But everything seems a little off.

I live in Kansas City, I'm not from here, and that whole region of southern culture is almost entirely alien to me, but my sense is that this is a view of a small, southern Missouri town seen through the lens of a whole lot of bad memories, the stories a culture tells itself, and an alcoholic haze.

I grew up in a southwestern, small town of 12,000 people, which was pretty great before puberty and pretty awful beyond. It's fair to say I hate it (though there a few good memories) and on the few occasions I've visited as an adult it's been suffocating. I feel dissociative when I'm there.

Although I'm often irritated at how film and television usually depicts small town culture, I really don't want to spend any time defending it.

Nevertheless, even forty years ago things weren't so insular and quaint in small towns. On the surface, things don't look much different from the cities. But underneath it feels very different because the world you inhabit is smaller. If I were to dramatize my youth, a strictly realist perspective would misrepresent it to an audience that doesn't already understand.

Most especially so with regard to returning as an adult. It's like walking through a bad dream. Oddly, my closest friends from high school don't have a clue how weird and alienated I feel not only visiting, but merely reminiscing. It's odd because they certainly know how unhappy I was -- I was a troubled kid and they were forced to deal with my shit for years. So why don't they understand that although I cherish them, and we've got many great stories, it's the one place in the world, physically and psychologically, that I most don't want to be?

Many of us are alienated from parts of our childhoods, wherever we grew up. But a small town history is a history hidden in plain sight, it's a haunting.

So that's what I think we're seeing -- things aren't right because they're not.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:03 AM on July 13, 2018 [9 favorites]

I remarked after watching this that I kind of wished I'd waited until there were a couple of episodes saved up...

It definitely has a weird, disconcerting, surreal quality.

Very much looking forward to this week's episode.
posted by biscotti at 2:53 PM on July 13, 2018

Loved this. The start was so confusing with such a fifties vibe, I literally thought it was a show about time travel. The disorienting, as mentioned above almost dissacociative feel is very much my jam but not great for me to watch always. Camille is reading as queer to me fwiw.
posted by Iteki at 8:39 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wow i LOVED this, it's right up my alley. So, so excited to watch more
posted by FirstMateKate at 4:18 PM on July 15, 2018

I'm hesitant to watch this, because according to my Goodreads review, I loathed the book (I don't remember it, truthfully), but the descriptions here make the miniseries sound really intriguing (and I loved the Big Little Lies series).

Has anybody in here read the novel? Thoughts?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:18 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Has anybody in here read the novel? Thoughts?

It's my least favorite of Flynn's books; much of it seemed kind of wtf to me as I was reading. Which I am sure is deliberate and may be part of the horror genre, or the corner of it where these books reside. (They're also thrillers, but this one is heavy on the horror, I think.)

I don't know that liking Big Little Lies means you are going to like this series. There are certain superficial plot similarities, and an amazing cast of mostly women leads. But otherwise? Big Little Lies has a very big, very serious central issue that plays out in hard to watch ways, with a lot of quite pleasurable watching in between; Sharp Objects has a lot of unpleasantness on various levels and I find it uncomfortable to watch pretty much all the time.

With all of that said, I am find the series worth seeing so far, and will almost certainly keep watching.
posted by BibiRose at 7:36 AM on July 20, 2018

I don't know that liking Big Little Lies means you are going to like this series.

The only reason I mentioned it is that it's got the same director. Points taken, though.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:57 AM on July 20, 2018

I think we'll watch one more, but I'm afraid the first one was just okay for us (compared to Big Little Lies which hooked us from the beginning). The pacing felt very slow and toward the end of the episode I was feeling, "Ok, I get it, she has a drinking problem, understood, point taken, let's move on."

But I want to give it another episode as Amy Adams always pleasantly surprises me. Patricia Clarkson was my favorite though, unsettling and fabulously acted.
posted by like_neon at 3:11 AM on July 23, 2018

The song in the opening scene with the young girls roller skating was Come Down by Sylvan Esso who is one of my favorite bands. The song makes an appearance again later in the episode. The singer was also in Mountain Man ...just in case anyone was wondering
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:10 PM on July 24, 2018

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