Maniac (Netflix Limited Series, 2018)

  • Gist: In an alt-now New York, two deeply troubled people enter a clinical therapy trial for an induced-delusion treatment, overseen by two other deeply troubled people.
  • Genre: Psychological-surrealist dark comedy drama with a sci-fi premise.
  • Cast: First rate! Acting so strong the show is built around it. Sally Field and Gabriel Byrne support the young ‘uns–Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, Sonoya Mizuno, and Justin Theroux–in a showcase of drama, comedy, tragedy, surrealism, and drama.
  • Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective season 1, Beasts of No Nation) pulls together the potentially confusing strands of this complex story with aplomb.
  • Script: Novelist Patrick Somerville capably adapted this crazy story from–not surprisingly–a Scandinavian dark comedy TV series.
  • Theme: In brief, it’s about grief.
  • Tone: Mixed, but by the end more upper than downer.
  • Sensitivity: Treats mental illness with decent respect, but it’s not about realistic suffering and treatment.

Conclusion: Watch it for a highly creative romp through the human mind, showcase acting, and something you can think about after it’s over.

Watch on Netflix

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