THE ACT - Patricia Arquette

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It's surprising that there hasn't been more buzz over this stunning 8 episode docudrama, featuring the inestimable Patricia Arquette and young Joey King, in what will certainly be her break out performance. Presumably its inconspicuous run is due to being shown on Hulu, which doesn't quite have the viewership of Amazon or Netflix. Still, it's also available on secondary streaming services.

In short, the true story concerns a mother and daughter who are locked into a rare psychological-cum-physical aberrant disorder in which the mother believes that the daughter has all manner of diseases and disabilities, and treats the child as an invalid, in which the daughter learns to fully participate. The classic name for the disorder is Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another).

IMO the two chief points in the series are: astonishment that this story actually occurred in real life; and the overwhelming performances by Arquette and King. Arquette won best actress Golden Globe for 2018's Escape at Dannemora, and she turns in another remarkable portrayal here. Joey King is smashing in a complex role. We'll be seeing a lot more of her.

I found it difficult to watch, experiencing a squirmy feeling at their relationship-- especially in the earlier episodes. My guess is that women would find the mother/daughter relationship more absorbing, and would delight in its many facets. But yet the later episodes become more interesting as the plot thickens, and develops the crime portions.

The story has elements of thriller, psychodrama, crime, and even horror. Notably co-creator Nick Ancosta has a background in horror. This is not a horror film, but some of the scenes have that patina. Truthfully the series could have been tightened to 6 episodes, but yet at its conclusion, one feels that the entire complicated picture has been presented.

Doc's rating: 8/10



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They had an episode with this topic on Law and Order SVU where a grandmother was treating her young grand daughter for a non existent cancer, and slowly poisoning her. Upsetting episode, tho the little girl was rescued in the end.
I think I'd be too squeamish to watch this series Doc, tho I take your word it is well done. ( In fact, I' m sometimes not sure if I' m too squeamish to watch L&O)



Is this a new show? I have never heard of it, but it looks good. I am subscribing to Hulu right now because of the Handmaid’s Tale so I will have a look at this.
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Watching the pilot & really enjoying it. Both female leads are excellent. @GulfportDoc didn’t mention that ChloŽ Sevigny is also in this, which is a real thrill for me.



They had an episode with this topic on Law and Order SVU where a grandmother was treating her young grand daughter for a non existent cancer, and slowly poisoning her. Upsetting episode, tho the little girl was rescued in the end.
I think I'd be too squeamish to watch this series Doc, tho I take your word it is well done. ( In fact, I' m sometimes not sure if I' m too squeamish to watch L&O)
Well, I'm similar to you regarding squeamish subjects. I don't like horror, zombies, gratuitous violence, excessive gutter language, gore, or deviant or graphic sex. However The Act has none of these (for the most part).

I'm glad I watched the entire series because of its uniqueness and phenomenal acting. I have a hunch that you would be captivated by the show, it's hard to say. I do think that women would be absorbed by the story more so than men. The average man (including me) is not emotionally or psychologically equipped to dig into mother/daughter relationships, or, for that matter, the meaningful interactions between women or groups of women. For example, that's why I had to bail after the first couple of episodes of Big Little Lies.

But, if you get the opportunity, watch a little of it to see if it grabs you.

~Doc



Finished the Act. Brilliant show & thanks again to @GulfportDoc for highlighting this mini-series.