Mare of Easttown review (2021)

Streaming on Disney plus Hotstar

Mare of Easttown trailer

Rating: 4/5

Time: 7 episodes of 1 hour each

Cast: Kate Winslet, Jean Smart, Guy Pearce, Evan Peters, Julianne Nicholson, Sosie Bacon

Mare of Easttown marks Hollywood star, Kate Winslet’s entry to the OTT world. She carries the show on her able shoulders – the bright sun around whom all of the supporting cast revolve. In her deglamourised role, she has perfected the Delco accent spoken in Pennsylvania where Easttown is located. Her performance of a character duelling with multiple problems in life is believable and compelling.

Mare of Easttown is very similar to many crime thrillers we view today. The investigating detective’s own personal drama and story gets intertwined with the crime that has been committed. Gone are the days of Agatha Christie, when it was enough to describe the crime, the suspects, and the detective work undertaken by the investigator to create an absorbing crime story. Today’s crime thrillers not just describe all of the above but also include the detective’s own personal foibles and his/her life story which is usually full of tragedy and remorse (True Detective, Shetland).

Mare of Easttown is no different. There is plenty of drama in Mare Sheehan’s (played by Kate Winslet) life. She is divorced with an elder son who committed suicide not too long ago. He left behind a young boy whom Mare is looking after but the child’s mother (played by Sosie Bacon, Kevin Bacon’s daughter) who is a recovering addict is fighting a custody battle for the boy. Mare Sheehan’s ex-husband will get married soon and she is the last to find out. She is not in any steady relationship but lives with her mother (played by Jean Smart) and daughter, both of whom have difficult relationships with her. All of this would have been enough material for a season or two. However, we also have a murder and two missing girls, leading everyone in Easttown to wonder – is there a serial killer on the loose?

Mare of Easttown shines above most other crime series because of the presence of Hollywood star, Kate Winslet. She has ably portrayed the various layers of a complex character. The series also benefits from writer Brad Ingelsby’s engrossing script. All of the sub-plots in the web series will keep you glued to the screen, making the Mare of Easttown a binge-worthy show.

Nomadland movie review (2021)

Streaming on Disney plus Hotstar

Rating: 4/5

Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Bob Wells, Linda May, Swankie

Nomadland has resonated with audiences around the world, many of them living in isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The film follows the story of Fern (played by Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand) a widow who has lost her job and home. With few family and friends and fewer prospects, she lives her life in a van, driving from one state to another looking for seasonal employment. At one point in the movie, she explains she is not ‘homeless’, just ‘houseless’.

Nomadland depicts the real-life subculture of ageing Americans living out of their vans and cars because they can no longer afford a home. In fact, many characters in the movie are real-life urban nomads. Their lives were first chronicled in Jessica Bruder’s book, Nomadland, on which the movie is based. Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells play themselves in the movie.

Nomadland is a reflective and thoughtful movie on loneliness and moving on from major life changes with the stunning landscape of the American West providing the perfect backdrop. The story moves slowly but surely and deserves the Oscar it got for Best Picture in 2021.

The Outsider (2020)

Streaming on Disney plus Hotstar

Rating: 4 / 5

1 Season, 10 episodes of approx. 1 hour each

A man accused of murder is also found to be at another place, several hundred kilometres away, at the same time as the murder. There are solid alibis at both places. An increasingly incredulous detective must question his own life beliefs as he comes across more such murders.

Based on the Stephen King horror novel of the same name, The Outsider is an edge-of-the-seat supernatural thriller that keeps you engaged throughout its 10 episodes. But the miniseries is not only about paranormal activity, shrieks, and ghosts. Instead, it stands out with its sensitive portrayal of grieving families. Some grieving families disintegrate when facing loss, while others survive.

There are spirits out there that prey on the fear, loneliness, and sadness of loved ones left behind. This is what detective Ralph Anderson finds difficult to believe. He takes the help of private investigator, Holly Gibney, to investigate a series of murders where the alleged perpetrator seems to be innocent and it becomes increasingly difficult to nail the real culprit.

Modern Family review (2009-2020)

Where to watch: Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar

Rating: 4 / 5

Time: 11 Seasons, 250 episodes of approx. 20 minutes each

Cast: Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O’Neill, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez

Filled with eccentric characters, in the Modern Family, even everyday life situations take on hilarious turns. Eminently bingeable, the show has won multiple Emmy awards for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Modern Family revolves around a diverse family with complicated relationships – a gay couple with an adopted Asian baby, the family patriarch married to a Colombian woman who is as old as his daughter, their Colombian step-son, and the typical American nuclear family with a stay-at-home mom, working husband, and three kids. Yet with all this diversity, the family manages to click.

The cast is excellent with competent acting skills and great comedic timing. The show’s writers have worked on some very amusing situations in every episode. The jokes are genuinely funny with plenty of witty one-liners. Light-hearted and entertaining watch!