“The Act” of kindness

By Pavel Zlatin 1851 staff

Photo Courtesy of Vanity Fair 
“The Act” stars Patricia Arquette and Joey King as mother-daughter duo.

“The Act” is a true crime drama television series that premiered on Hulu on March 20. The series follows the story of Gypsy Rose (Joey King) and Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette) through challenges leading up to Dee Dee’s murder.

So far, only six out of eight episodes have aired on Hulu. The available five episodes cover the events from 2008 to 2015, following Gypsy Rose’s maturing and grow- ing independence, as well as her mother’s growing desperation caused by the desire to keep Gypsy Rose helpless and dependent on her. Even though the show provides a dramatized version of the events, it gives the audience a very intricate and accurate portrayal of the Blanchards.

Gypsy Rose, according to her mother, “had a mind of a seven-year-old.” Big round glasses, child-like voice and Disney inspired everything, she appeared to their friends and neighbors as very childish. No one suspected that the heroic mother who selflessly took care of her “disabled” daughter would turn out to be an abusive criminal. What’s even more shocking is that “disabled” and seemingly harmless Gypsy Rose would become the mastermind behind her mother’s murder, committed by her then- boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn (Calum Worthy) in 2015.

Arquette’s and King’s portrayals of their characters are multi-layered and complex. While Arquette’s Dee Dee is a miserable, mentally unstable, and cruel woman, she’s not just that. Certain events and character elements reveal that Dee Dee is indeed a mastermind that believes all her motivation is driven by Gypsy Rose.

King’s Gypsy Rose is not just a victim. She conspired the murder of her mother with her boyfriend, revealing a darkness underneath the princesses and pink. Both characters have much deeper psychological elements that contributed to the ultimate“act of kindness,” as Gypsy refers to it. Overall, the show is beautifully executed. The set is visually pleasing, the cast and the acting are top-notch, the characters are multiplexed, and the writing is great.

“The Act” is definitely hard to watch. Not only because it’s very graphic and based on a true story, but also because of the subject matter.



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