Olive Kitteridge (miniseries)
Olive Kitteridge |
by Elizabeth Strout
|Screenplay by||Jane Anderson|
|Directed by||Lisa Cholodenko|
John Gallagher Jr.
|Theme music composer||Carter Burwell|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||4|
|Editor(s)||Jeffrey M. Werner|
|Running time||233 minutes|
|Original release||November 2– November 3, 2014|
Olive Kitteridge is a 2014 four-hour miniseries based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Elizabeth Strout. Set in Maine, the HBO miniseries features Frances McDormand as the title character, Richard Jenkins as Olive's loving husband Henry Kitteridge, Zoe Kazan as Denise Thibodeau, and Bill Murray as Jack Kennison. The miniseries is divided into four parts, each depicting a certain point of time in the novel.
Olive Kitteridge debuted in the United States on November 2, 2014, on the American premium TV network HBO, which aired the show's first two episodes back-to-back that evening; the third and fourth episodes aired back-to-back the following evening. The miniseries was shown in a similar format in the United Kingdom on Sky Atlantic, on December 14 and December 15, 2014. It premiered in Australia on showcase from 13 January 2015. At the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, the miniseries won eight awards including Outstanding Limited Series.
Olive Kitteridge is a misanthropic and strict, but well-meaning, retired schoolteacher who lives in the fictional seaside town of Crosby, Maine. She is married to Henry Kitteridge, a kind, considerate man who runs a pharmacy downtown, and has a troubled son named Christopher, who grows up to be a podiatrist. For 25 years, Olive has experienced problems of depression, bereavement, jealousy, and friction with family members and friends.
- Frances McDormand as Olive Kitteridge
- Richard Jenkins as Henry Kitteridge
- Zoe Kazan as Denise Thibodeau
- Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel Coulson
- Martha Wainwright as Angela O'Meara
- John Gallagher Jr. as Christopher Kitteridge (adult)
- Devin Druid as Christopher Kitteridge (age 13)
- John Mullen as Kevin Coulson (age 13)
- Cory Michael Smith as Kevin Coulson (adult)
- Ann Dowd as Bonnie Newton
- Jesse Plemons as Jerry McCarthy
- Bill Murray as Jack Kennison
- Peter Mullan as Jim O'Casey
- Rachel Brosnahan as Patty Howe
- Brady Corbet as Henry Thibodeau
- Maryann Urbano as Linda Kennison
- Libby Winters as Suzanne
- Patricia Kalember as Joyce
- Audrey Marie Anderson as Ann
- Donna Mitchell as Louise Larkin
- Frank L. Ridley as Mr. Thibodeau
Series 1 (2014)
|No.||Title||Original Air Date|
|1||"Pharmacy"||2 November 2014|
|An elderly Olive walks into the forest, planning to commit suicide. As she kneels on a blanket and thinks about her life, the episode flashes back 25 years earlier to early 1980, when Henry's assistant at the pharmacy suffers a stroke and dies during her lunch break. To replace the deceased woman, he hires Denise Thibodeau, who is innocent and outgoing, but insecure. Henry finds Denise intelligent and cute, and they enjoy each other's company. For her part, Olive, unappreciative of Henry's kind and romantic gestures toward her, shares a mutual attraction with a fellow teacher, Jim O'Casey, although the two do not act on it. Olive takes an interest in the well-being of 13-year-old Kevin Coulson, one of her students at the school whose mother Rachel suffers from depression, and counsels Rachel on her behavior and responsibilities to Kevin. Thirteen-year-old Christopher finds Olive's parenting style harsh, demanding, and unforgiving, and resents the attention she pays to Kevin's welfare. Both Olive and Christopher also begin to resent Denise, who they call "the mouse," because of Henry's strong fatherly interest in her, and are rude to Denise and her husband when, at Henry's invitation, they have dinner at the Kitteridges' home. After Denise's husband is killed in a hunting accident, Henry's interest in Denise intensifies, and he begins to treat her as his child, comforting her, teaching her how to drive and how to care for her late husband's truck, giving her a kitten, advising her on who she should associate with, inviting her to dinner at the Kitteridges' house, and even feeding her like a baby at the dinner table when she says she has no appetite as Olive and Christopher look on in astonishment and consternation. Henry begins to ignore his other employee, stockboy Jerry McCarthy, overlooking his accomplishments, and eventually even angers Denise with his overprotectiveness, although they soon reconcile. After she accidentally runs over and kills her kitten, he tucks her into bed at her home and promises to take care of her. Henry is attracted to Denise, but does not act on it. Concerned that she has no friends her own age or social life, he asks Jerry to take Denise to the movies, which Jerry agrees to do, and gives Jerry money with which to pay for the date. Late one evening, Olive and Henry drive past a car accident along the side of the road in which Jim O'Casey has been killed, and after they arrive home, Henry finds a grieving Olive weeping bitterly in their bedroom.|
|2||"Incoming Tide"||2 November 2014|
|A number of years later, Henry has sold the pharmacy to a chain store and retired. Denise and Jerry have married and moved to Houston, Texas, where they have started a family. Visiting Crosby, they stop by the Kitteridges' home for coffee. Jerry has become smug and extremely critical of Denise. After they leave, Henry opines that had Denise's first husband lived, she would have been loved and cherished; Olive admonishes him, suggesting that he actually is wishing that he had had a romantic relationship with Denise. Three weeks later, Kevin Coulson, now a medical student in New York City suffering from depression and hallucinations, as his mother Rachel did, returns to Crosby to commit suicide. His former teacher Olive chances upon him in his car in a parking lot; as they talk, she discerns that he is planning suicide, and their discussion reveals that both Olive's father and Rachel had killed themselves. As they talk, Olive sees another of Olive's former students and Kevin's former schoolmates, Patty Howe, slip off a cliff while picking flowers and fall into the ocean. Kevin rescues her. Olive invites a reluctant Kevin to attend a rehearsal dinner that evening for the wedding of Christopher, who is now a podiatrist in Crosby, and Suzanne, a proctologist from California. Olive finds Suzanne and her mother Joyce to be status-conscious, self-absorbed, and condescending toward Maine and its people, and they find Olive abrasive; Suzanne and Joyce have taken a dislike to Olive, as she has to them. Kevin talks with Christopher and Suzanne, who offend him by criticizing Olive, and he withdraws to the restaurant's bar, where he recalls Jim O'Casey advising him about women and marriage when he was a child. After the Kitteridges return home with Kevin, who spends the night at their house, Olive makes Kevin throw the shotgun and ammunition he planned to use for his suicide into the bay. Although the Kitteridges invite him to the wedding the following day, he chooses instead to visit Patty to ask if she had jumped off the cliff; she assures him that, although she was sad, she found that picking flowers cheered her up and had fallen off accidentally while doing so, and he is amazed that merely picking flowers can make her happy. Meanwhile, Olive and Henry go to the wedding, held at Christopher's and Suzanne's house in Crosby, where Olive is rude to Christopher, Suzanne, Joyce, and the caterers, trades veiled insults with Joyce constantly, and disapproves of virtually everything. While taking a nap in Christopher's and Suzanne's bedroom at the house during the reception, Olive overhears Suzanne expressing dislike for her and criticizing the dress Olive wore to the wedding, which she had made herself for the occasion. Seeking revenge, Olive marks up one of Suzanne's sweaters with a highlighter and steals one of Suzanne's shoes and one of her earrings. That evening, Suzanne awakens a dozing Christopher while urgently and angrily searching for her missing earring in the bedroom.|
|3||"A Different Road"||3 November 2014|
|Several more years have passed. Olive and Henry now own a dog named Clancy. Christopher and Suzanne have moved to California, and Olive and Henry now rent Christopher and Suzanne's former house to summer visitors. Christopher calls to tell them that Suzanne has had an affair and he and Suzanne are getting divorced, and he rejects Henry's suggestion that he move back to Crosby and declines even to visit Maine for the time being. Olive is abrupt with Christopher and tells Henry that they should sell Christopher's former house instead of renting it out and tells him to snap out of his sentimentality about Christopher and Suzanne. Henry visits his former pharmacy and encounters his former customers Jack and Linda Kennison there; Linda remembers Henry, but Jack does not. Henry strikes up a conversation with a young woman stocking a display with Father's Day cards; she disagrees with him that Father's Day is an important holiday or that her father would want a card from her. Olive and Henry go out to dinner with friends, who tell them that their daughter and grandchildren are rude to them. On the way home from dinner, Olive is stricken with an attack of diarrhea, and the Kittredges stop at a hospital emergency room so that Olive can use the toilet. The emergency room doctor and nurse decide to examine Olive for a shellfish allergy, so Henry comes inside to wait for Olive. Armed robbers burst in and take Olive, Henry, the doctor, and the nurse hostage while searching for drugs to steal. Henry criticizes the robbers for their vulgarity and aggressiveness and tries to comfort the panicky nurse, and he and Olive argue about what she says is his need to comfort "little mice" like the nurse; in contrast Olive tells the nurse to stop praying out loud, and while arguing with Henry tells him that she planned to leave him for Jim O'Casey years ago. Henry tells Olive she would not have lasted two weeks with Jim and she says he would not have lasted two weeks with Denise. Security personnel arrive and rescue them, but they have trouble dealing with what they said to one another. Eight months later, Henry suffers a debilitating stroke that leaves him permanently unresponsive to anyone around him. He is placed in a nursing home, where Olive dotes on him and talks to him, insisting that he can understand. Christopher comes to visit from California, and concludes that Henry is unaware of his surroundings after snapping his fingers in front of Henry's face and getting no response. This offends Olive, who insists that Henry can understand what is going on around him, and their discussion leads to an argument in which Olive accuses Christopher of not caring enough about Henry and her and Christopher accuses her of being a horrible mother. After dropping Christopher off at the airport, Olive visits Henry and, after Henry mutters something for the first time since his stroke, snaps her fingers in front of his face, getting no response. Olive visits Louise Larkin, whose son Doyle, a former student of Olive's, is in prison. Louise had sent Olive a pleasant note, but the visit takes a dark turn when Louise begins to discuss the temptation of committing suicide after the loss of a loved one. Olive quickly leaves Louise's house and goes back to visit Henry, telling him how kind he always was and that it will be okay if he wants to die – and that he will not have to do it alone.|
|4||"Security"||3 November 2014|
|Four years later, Christopher lives in New York City with his second wife Ann, who is pregnant with his child and has two other children fathered by two other men. He asks Olive to come and help Ann, who he says is suffering from nausea due to her pregnancy. Olive flies to New York, where Ann greets her warmly and calls her "Mom." Olive disapproves of Ann's housekeeping abilities, cooking, and childrearing philosophy and discovers than Ann is not suffering from nausea at all. Each night of her trip, Olive calls Henry, believing that he can understand her after the nursing staff puts the phone to his ear. Christopher makes a callous joke about their upstairs neighbor, Sean O'Casey, being related to the late Jim O'Casey – which he is not. Insulted by Ann's indirect criticisms of her, and accusing Christopher of breaking Henry's heart by moving away from Crosby, Olive decides to end her visit early. After another bitter argument over Christopher's childhood and their relationship, Olive returns to Crosby and goes to the nursing home, where the staff tells her that they had been unable to reach her to tell her that Henry had died overnight. She discovers that when she called Henry during her trip they had simply taken the phone off the hook and walked away without ensuring that Henry was awake to hear her, and she storms out. Six months later, she is walking the aging Clancy when she finds Jack Kennison collapsed next to a park bench; he has lain down after suffering a dizzy spell. She gets him on his feet and introduces herself. They confide in one another, telling each other that their spouses have died and that they have trouble finding a reason to live each day; Olive says that she is waiting for the dog to die so that she can shoot herself. They establish a gruff rapport. Olive later calls Jack and asks him out to dinner. They share similar experiences in their grief for their deceased spouses, but their date otherwise goes poorly, as Jack criticizes Olive's attitude toward Christopher and expresses conservative political and social views that offend Olive. She walks out of the restaurant and returns home to find Clancy gravely ill, and receives a phone message from Ann letting her know that she had given birth to Christopher's baby. Olive has Clancy euthanized, and soon walks into the woods to shoot herself. Before she can, children playing in the woods interrupt her; after she tells them she is just having a picnic, they tell her not to litter. She changes her mind about killing herself and bursts into tears. She goes to visit Jack; finding him in bed and depressed, she tells him she is now a grandmother, that her troubles with Christopher are her own fault, and that Henry loved her and she had been awful to him in return. She curls up with Jack in bed. Looking out the window at birds flying over the bay, she says, "It baffles me, this world. I don't want to leave it yet."|
Olive Kitteridge received praise for its writing, directing, cinematography, and Frances McDormand's central performance, along with co-stars Richard Jenkins, Bill Murray and John Gallagher Jr. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the miniseries a 96% "fresh" rating based on 47 reviews with an average score of 8.59 out of 10. The critical consensus reads: "Olive Kitteridge's narrative slow burn enhances fascinating performances -- and a story worthy of its source material." On Metacritic, the show has a score of 89 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
The miniseries received nominations at several awards ceremonies including the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, where the series was nominated for Best Miniseries or Television Film, Frances McDormand was nominated for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and Bill Murray was nominated for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film. Frances McDormand was also nominated at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie and Richard Jenkins was nominated Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie. McDormand and Jenkins were also nominated in equivalent categories at the 19th Satellite Awards, where Zoe Kazan was also nominated Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film and the series was nominated Best Miniseries or Television Film.
Olive Kitteridge was released by HBO on DVD and Blu-ray on February 10, 2015.
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- Knox, David (26 December 2014). "Airdate: Olive Kitteridge". TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
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