Jessica Biel is ‘Candy’, a permanent housewife released after hitting her friend with an ax 41 times

Candy, Hulu’s five-episode miniseries about a true crime set in a Texas suburb in the early 1980s raises two questions about its eponymous inspiration, Candace Montgomery. First: What made the blessed housekeeper and Bible study leader on vacation cut her friend Betty Gore to death with an ax? And second: how the hell did she convince the jury that she hit her friend 41 times in self-defense?

Jessica Biel, once the wayward daughter of the Camden family 7. the sky and later the sinner of the same name sinner, he now plays another conflicted figure of faith. A choir singer and Sunday School teacher, Candace Montgomery is a joyous pillar of her community loved by both children and adults. She’s the perfect foil for Betty Gore, an insane disciplinarian who loses her job as a teacher because she can’t maintain a class without shutting them all down. (On several occasions.) Melanie Lynskey, peeking out from under a neglected wig, plays a doomed sad sack with a mixture of bitterness and exhaustion. So why did Candy kill her?

Both Candy and Betty seem to cling to intimacy in their marriages with obedient but unmarried men. Candy’s attempts to rekindle the flames with her pious, good-natured husband, Pat (Timothy Simons), continue to grow in smoke, leaving her to deal with her sexual frustrations in the bathtub — at least until she finally decides to take a lover. Betty, meanwhile, spends half of her time on screen begging her husband Allan (Pablo Schreiber) to stop leaving her so often on business trips on weekends. For her, home is like a prison cell – darkened and full of sounds she can’t control. (Although in this case the crowd is just … children are children.)

As cute as she looks on the outside, Candy’s candied coating hides a harmful tangle of repressed anger and frustration, similar to those plaguing her friend. As Betty wears her bitterness up her sleeve, Candy hides it in her core.

Jessica Biel replaced Elisabeth Moss as the star of the series last year and it’s hard to imagine what the series might look like with The maid’s story and Great girls a star at its center. For this production, however, Biel feels like the perfect choice for the role of Candace – charismatic, dizzying and wild. She leads with smooth smiles and undermines them with dissociative views from the middle distance; her character of a busy housewife is kind and homey, but also athletic and fierce.

The rest of the cast has a similar blow. Lynskey, who has had a moment since then Yellow jackets exploded, oscillates between empathetic, sad and frustrating like Betty; Schreiber’s Allan seems to both love and resent his wife, and Orange is the new black‘s resident Porn’ Stache is astonishingly adept at playing the destitute widower. (Come on, Allan says he doesn’t know how to change diapers, but he thinks his degree in engineering will help him figure it out, and stay for a moment when he finds out what happens when you fill the dishwasher with plain old dish soap.)

Simons quietly steals the play in every scene in which Pat is a sympathetic drug addict whose intuition as a father is far sharper than his insight into his wife. And once Law and order: SVU ADA Raul Esparza was inspired to choose the role of Candy’s lawyer, Don Crowder — whom she knew from church and whom the series implies knew Candy perhaps a little closer than anyone in the courtroom wanted.

Simons quietly steals the play in every scene in which Pat is a sympathetic drug addict whose intuition as a father is far sharper than his insight into his wife.

Fans Sinnerin which Biel played another character of the haunted killer in his first season, he will recognize Candy‘s approach to his elements of true crime. Like American drama, the Hulu miniseries adopts a “whydunit” approach to mystery at its core – a useful tactic that ensures that all viewers, those who already know the details of Montgomery’s murder of Gore and those who don’t, find themselves intrigued. Creators Nick Antosca (Rank) and Robin VeithVastness) combine slow-moving crime drama with humor that flirts with the camp, but never fully accepts it.

However, during his five-episode series, Candy hints at a safer series – or perhaps a film made for TV – that could be. Early scenes like a fierce volleyball game full of covert looks at the buttocks and high heels were filmed with quiet humor that over time, unfortunately, gives way to a more honest court drama. I caught myself constantly wishing the show had allowed itself just one inch more width – just a little more humor here, a little more idiosyncratic energy there. In the absence of real tension, Candy it tends to spin its wheels – a slightly sour note on an otherwise sweet formula.

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