The Act starring Joey King is the perfect weekend or spring break binge.
BY SOPHIA HUDSON, ’22.
Whether you’re a television fanatic or a true crime junkie, Hulu’s original series The Act has viewers around the world both mesmerized and horrified. In this chilling reenactment of the true story of “golden child” Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother, Dee Dee, the series paints a picture of the classic saying “There’s always more than what meets the eye.”
Co-Creators Nick Antosca and Michelle Dean deliver in depth, the duo’s story of abuse, fraud and murder. The story begins with showing the relationship between the mother and daughter; an ill little girl suffering from numerous diagnoses and her wonderful caretaker who loves her child more than life itself. However, throughout the eight episodes, the truth is revealed, as Gyspy (the daughter) begins to question whether or not she is as “sick” as her mother has her and the world around them. Walking without her wheelchair, sneaking sugary drinks (which Dee Dee told her numerous times would kill her) and stealing her mother’s laptop to make a Facebook account, Gypsy soon discovers that the life she knew so well was a lie.
The performances by the two leads, Joey King (Gypsy Rose) and Patricia Arquette (Dee Dee), has critics raving about the series.
King’s portrayal of the young girl is exceptional, differing from any role she has played beforehand, (The Kissing Booth, Fargo) with her shaved head and false teeth, viewers are fully immersed within the lives of the Blanchard women as the jaw dropping events unfold leaving you appalled in way that makes your toes curl. Arquettes’s sweet Louisiana drawl only contributes to the down to earth mother of the year facade that fooled the neighbors who often rallied together to contribute to medical bill funds and the doctors and organizations such as Make A Wish and Habitats for Humanities who came to the little family’s aid. Even viewers can’t help but feel sorry for the woman, as her own backstory of her traumatic relationship with her own mother is shown in episode five explaining the insecurity and the desire to be needed which ran so deep in her. However, between punishing Gypsy to a feeding tube and extracting all of her teeth because of one cavity, the revelation young Blanchard has, was only a matter of time.
The heartache multiplies as the season goes on, as King demonstrates the silent suffrage Gypsy endured, even as her acts of rebellion grow larger, her medical needs become abundant, and the fragile relationship balance between the pair is disrupted, eventually leading to Dee Dee’s downfall, as her daughter entertains romantic relationships behind her back, leaving the mother with a feeling of betrayal.
Former Disney star Callum Worthy graces the screen in a way that sends a chill down your spine. Playing Nick, Gypsy’s mentally unstable boyfriend whom she met online during her nightly defiance, the story takes a turn for the worst when the couple plots to murder Dee Dee in an attempt for Gypsy to finally have the freedom she has craved for so long.
The series goes back and forth between the night of Dee Dee’s murder and the present day of the story, beautifully contrasting the two. The events leading up to that fatal night shines a light on the truth and what experts believe to be Munchausen syndrome by proxy that Dee Dee experienced, causing her to fabricate her daughter’s ill health in order to receive attention and sympathy for taking care of a sick child.
Viewers are given a unique point of view in the eight episode series, watching the story unfold in a way that can only be described as beautifully disturbing… and the perfect weekend binge.