Summary of “13 Fall Shows To Be Excited About, 10 To Give A Chance, And 5 To Avoid”

Sarah Polley, the former child actor turned accomplished writer-director, was meant to turn Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood’s 1996 novel, into a movie – in fact, Polley tried to buy the rights when the book was first published when she was only 17, but was turned down then.
Alias Grace, clearly a passion project for Polley, expanded to a six-episode limited series that will be broadcast on Netflix.
Alias Grace is set in 1859, years after the conviction, when a group of Grace’s supporters who think she’s innocent hire Dr. Simon Jordan – an alienist, in the day’s parlance – to examine her with the aim of exonerating her.
As Grace tells Dr. Jordan her story, we learn it too – and we also learn she’s an unreliable narrator.
Kinnear is in an illicit relationship with his housekeeper, Nancy, who has hired Grace so there’s another woman in the house.
Polley, who wrote all six episodes, weaves Alias Grace’s story expertly, raising questions about characters’ motivations without hammering the viewer on the head, and twisting the plot to offer different viewpoints.
Gadon – in a role Polley herself might have excelled in, should she have chosen to – plays Grace as both an innocent and a possible manipulator, and as smarter than she’s thought to be, which is difficult.
Holcroft instills the largely passive Dr. Jordan with intelligence and sympathy – he’s just listening to Grace, after all, though it’s an act that starts to drive him mad. Gross and Paquin are appropriately icky, and Kerr Logan as Grace’s possible co-conspirator is both menacing and dumb, which is right.

The orginal article.