Netflix’s Limited Series ‘Alias Grace’ Pulls You In
The Netflix 19th century period piece Alias Grace has its main character Grace Marks feed us bits of information about herself, making you want to return for the next episode to make sense of everything.
Sarah Gadon very believably plays Grace, a young Irish immigrant that has come to Canada. Her father kicks her out to have one less mouth to feed and sends her to become a domestic servant. Eventually, she ends up working for Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery. A few months later Thomas and Nancy turn up murdered and she, along with another servant James McDermott, get blamed for it. Saying what the lawyers told her, she gets life in prison while McDermott gets sentenced to death.
She doesn’t remember the crime itself only before and after, so young psychologist Dr. Jordan, hired by a group that wants her pardoned, comes in to try to decipher and pull forward her memory of the repressed events. The Freudian set up of doctor examining mentally-ill girl leaves behind its often cliche feeling, with no focus on hysteria and a doctor that actually listens and wants to understand Grace, and with her telling such multi-layered accounts of her life, you understand how certain moments deeply impacted her. He has her tell her life story, and each episode, as they lead to her hopeful recollection of the crime, leaves you guessing if she has hidden something or has truly lost her memory. Dr. Jordan becomes more perplexed as he talks with her, as she doesn’t seem violent or dishonest, and questions whether he can trust what she says.
Conflicting testimonies of McDermott paint her as a scheming to seduce him to bring harm to Thomas and Nancy, where during her sessions with the doctor she has a kind and caring demeanor, adding to his confusion.
Join the doctor and Grace to try to figure out the truth of her condition and the events that have imprisoned her.