HBO’s Sharp Objects Adaptation Premier

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As a Gillian Flynn and Amy Adams fan, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Sharp Objects adaptation by HBO.

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

Camille is a pretty typical Gillian Flynn protagonist: complicated, a bit damaged, and unapologetically angry. Adams has her work cut out for her; so much of the character development takes place inside Camille’s head, as she is reserved and distant around the hometown acquaintances she hasn’t seen in years. Camille’s discomfort in Wind Gap is palpable, however. It seems clear that this discomfort is not only rooted in the morbid subject of her reporting assignment. Camille seems like she’d rather crawl out of her own skin than associate with the people from her hometown. At this early stage in the story, it effectively makes one wonder what memories she’s avoiding confronting.

Amma, Camille’s younger half sister, is one of the most interesting characters in the book. The sharp divide between Amma’s public persona and the persona she presents in front of her mother catches Camille’s attention very early on. As of the first episode, this duality is not yet as obvious as it is in the book. It will be interesting to see how this develops in coming episodes.

They always call depression the blues, but I would have been happy to waken to a periwinkle outlook. Depression to me is urine yellow, washed out, exhausted miles of weak piss.

The show feels slow to expose Camille’s deep emotional issues. Self harm, as implied by the title, is a central aspect of Camille’s character. Her concealing outfits are obscuring a plethora of words carved into her skin over the years, the result of a habit which landed her in the previously mentioned psych hospital. This raises the question of how her past trauma will impact her ability to cover the grisly details of the story she’s been sent to report.

So far, I’m ridiculously intrigued and optimistic about how this story will be adapted for TV. HBO has brought together a talented cast, and Flynn’s work seems to be in very capable hands.

Are you watching Sharp Objects? What are your thoughts on the book and/or the show so far?
Please share in the comments!

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