Emmys: Why You Need to See 'Olive Kitteridge'

Ken Tucker
·Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment
image

Now that Olive Kitteridge dominated the Limited Series Emmy Awards categories, if you haven’t seen it, you may be wondering: Should you? What’s it about? You bet you should watch it: Based on Elizabeth Strout’s novel, it’s about the stubborn, flinty title character, played by Frances McDormand. She’s grumpy, she’s kind of mean to her husband, Henry (Richard Jenkins), and she’s as chilly as the Maine landscape she inhabits.

It’s the story of how Olive, a retired schoolteacher, affects the various inhabitants of a small town, including a former customer played by Bill Murray, the biggest star in what is probably the smallest role in the film. Olive Kitteridge as directed by Lisa Cholodenko is beautifully faithful to Strout’s plain-prose, concise, wonderful novel.

McDormand gives an extraordinarily restrained performance while still commanding the screen; she’s in nearly every scene, yet she directs your attention to her co-stars. The TV adaptation deserves every award it won.

Olive Kitteridge is available to watch on HBO on Demand, HBO Go, and HBO Now.