HBO Series ‘Olive Kitteridge’ Debuts With a Bang

Olive Kitteridge

Viewers have received the new HBO mini-series, Olive Kitteridge, with great reviews, as the series which was debuted Sunday, with the second portion of episodes showing Monday, started off with a bang. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Elizabeth Strout was adapted by Jane Anderson and with the reviews that it has received so far it is expected to do very well. The mini-series will get four episodes to air, and will tell the story of main character Olive Kitteridge, which is the book is named after, who supposedly portraits brave portraits of marriage and mental illness. The story, follows Kitteridge through 25 years of marriage and parenting with a setting that focuses on crime, tragedy, illicit affairs, and immoral acts.

Elizabeth Strout, author of Abide With Me, The Burgess Boys, and Amy and Isabelle, wrote the book Olive Kitteridge in 2009. She was already an author known for prize-winning writing and received great reviews on her new work. HBO recently turned the award-winning novel into a four part mini-series which aired Sunday night and is expected to continue with the second half on Monday night at 9pm. It went off with a bang as movie critics are actually giving the episodes great reviews. David Rooney, of The Hollywood Reporter, wrote that the show was “an all-around class act,” stating that everyone involved in the shows making deserves great credit. He also stated that it had colors of…graceful cinematography.” Many other critics gave the show a great review after its first airing, though some critics did not like the choice of characters selected to play the parts.

Star of the series Frances McDormand, who plays the character Olive Kitteridge, seemed to fit the role well, according to reviews. Though one critic stated that she did not fit the physical description of the character, the way that Strout mentioned in her novel, many critics claimed that she portrayed the actions and emotions of the seemingly disturbed character well. Other stars of the show include actors Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray, and director Lisa Cholodenko from The Kids Are All Right. There are also many up-and-coming actors filling the roles of the novel. Some of these actors are Jesse Plemens of Friday Night Lights, John Gallagher Jr. of Short Term 12 and Zoe Kazan of What If. Executive Producers include Gary Goetzman and Tom Hanks.

As seen in the past, realist dramas usually have a hard time getting positive reviews and large amounts of viewers, but when they debut with such a bang, series like Olive Kitterage usually do well, especially when it is part of an HBO series, which seem to do well just by being part of the brand. As the series starts out, viewers become aware that Olive is having troubles in her life as a math teacher, but as the story continues to unravel the viewers learn more about why she is having trouble. As the series covers the next 25 years of her life it is told in snapshots of different years, gone by. According to sources, the story is comedic about death, though its dark setting pulls viewers in. Supposedly (spoiler alert) Olive keeps many people from committing suicide throughout the show, though she wants to do the same. It features working-class America and the struggles of recession, marriage, and life.

The second part of the HBO mini-series, Olive Kitteridge can be seen Monday night at 9 p.m. The show is expected to finish after showing the last half. Olive Kitteridge is also already available for purchase online for viewers who miss the debut. However, as it is debuting with a bang, it is expected to have more showtime on HBO in the future.

By Crystal Boulware


The Atlantic
The Hollywood Reporter

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