Sharp Objects (miniseries)
|Created by||Marti Noxon|
|Based on||Sharp Objects|
by Gillian Flynn
|Directed by||Jean-Marc Vallée|
|Opening theme||"Dance and Angela" by Franz Waxman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||55–61 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||5.1 surround|
|Original release||July 8 –|
August 26, 2018
Sharp Objects is an American psychological thriller television miniseries based on Gillian Flynn's debut novel of the same name that premiered on July 8, 2018, on HBO. The series was created by Marti Noxon, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and stars Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Matt Craven, Henry Czerny, Taylor John Smith, Madison Davenport, Miguel Sandoval, Will Chase, Jackson Hurst, Sophia Lillis, Lulu Wilson, and Elizabeth Perkins. It follows Camille Preaker, an emotionally troubled reporter who returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two young girls.
The series received positive reviews, with many praising its visuals, dark atmosphere, direction, and acting, particularly the performances of Adams, Clarkson, and Scanlen. Among its accolades, Clarkson won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film and Adams received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. It also received eight nominations at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Limited Series and acting nominations for Adams and Clarkson.
Crime reporter Camille Preaker, suffering from alcoholism and recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital after years of self-harming, returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to investigate the murders of two young girls. Upon arriving at her childhood home, she finds herself once again under the critical eye of her mother, Adora, a small-town socialite, which forces Camille to confront her personal demons.
Cast and characters
- Amy Adams as Camille Preaker, an alcoholic reporter recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital
- Patricia Clarkson as Adora Crellin, Amma and Camille's overbearing socialite mother
- Chris Messina as Detective Richard Willis, a detective from Kansas City who arrives in Wind Gap to assist with the ongoing murder investigations
- Eliza Scanlen as Amma Crellin, Camille's half-sister and Adora's and Alan's daughter
- Matt Craven as Bill Vickery, the police chief of Wind Gap
- Henry Czerny as Alan Crellin, Amma's father, Adora's husband, and Camille's stepfather
- Taylor John Smith as John Keene, the brother of Wind Gap's second murder victim, Natalie Keene
- Madison Davenport as Ashley Wheeler, the girlfriend of John Keene
- Miguel Sandoval as Frank Curry, the editor of the St. Louis Chronicle who sends Camille back to Wind Gap on the assignment that leads her to confront her "issues"
- Will Chase as Bob Nash, the father of Wind Gap's first murder victim, Ann Nash
- Jackson Hurst as Kirk Lacey, a teacher at Wind Gap Middle School
- Sophia Lillis as young Camille Preaker
- Lulu Wilson as Marian Crellin, Camille's half sister who died in front of her when they were children, Adora's and Alan's first child together, and Amma's sister
- Elizabeth Perkins as Jackie O'Neill, the town gossip and longtime family friend of the Crellins
- David Sullivan as Chris, the owner of the bar where Camille frequently goes to in Wind Gap and an old friend of hers
- Violet Brinson as Kelsey
- April Brinson as Jodes
- Barbara Eve Harris as Eileen, Frank Curry's wife and friend of Camille
- Emily Yancy as Gayla, Adora's and Alan's housekeeper
- Sydney Sweeney as Alice, Camille's teenage roommate at the psychiatric hospital she was committed to
- Jessica Treska as Natalie Keene
- Beth Broderick as Annie B
- Catherine Carlen as Deeanna
- Loretta Fox as Melissa
- Aaron Holliday as Damon
- London Vanovan as Amanda Nash
- Ryan James Nelson as Nolan
- Jennifer Aspen as Jeannie Keene, the mother of John and Natalie Keene
- Randy Oglesby as Pastor
- Betsy Baker as Jocelyn Vickery
- Cody Sullivan as Nathan
- Evan Castelloe as Teen Kirk Lacey
- Gunnar Koehler as Bobby Nash
- Gracie Prewitt as Tiffanie Nash
- Daisy Garcia as Bar Waitress
- Reagan Pasternak as Katie Lacey
- Lauran September as Angie
- Jean Villepique as Gretchen
- Ericka Kreutz as Lisa
- Guy Boyd as Clyde
- Sonny Shah as Cashier
- Kaegan Baron as Ann Nash
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||"Vanish"||Jean-Marc Vallée||Marti Noxon||July 8, 2018||1.54|
|Camille Preaker, a St. Louis-based reporter, is struggling with alcoholism and self-harm. She has flashbacks to her troubled childhood in the small town of Wind Gap, Missouri. Her editor, Frank Curry, orders her to return to Wind Gap, where a 13-year old girl, Ann Nash, was murdered the previous summer, and another, 14-year-old Natalie Keene, is missing. Camille's flashbacks intensify when she returns and after a couple days, she goes to live with her socialite mother, Adora Crellin; stepfather, Alan; and half-sister, teenager Amma. She meets Detective Richard Willis during a search party. She then talks with Bob Nash about the disappearance of his daughter. Later that day Natalie Keene's body is discovered in the alley behind the police station. Amma and Camille talk about their middle sister Marian, who had died when Camille was younger, and Amma secretly admits to disliking her mother's treatment of her and behaves like a child to hide her rebellious side. During a bath, it is revealed that not only has Camille carved the word "vanish" into her arm, but she has words carved all over her body.|
|2||"Dirt"||Jean-Marc Vallée||Gillian Flynn||July 15, 2018||1.10|
|Richard wonders why Ann was found in the woods on the spot where she was killed, yet Natalie was discovered posed in the middle of town, her teeth yanked out with pliers. Camille sees Richard taking soil samples from Bob Nash's tires. Adora, who has kept Marian's room like a shrine, continues to belittle Camille, whom she accuses of embarrassing the family through her investigation. Camille thinks Natalie's older brother, high school senior John, stands out in Wind Gap, and is told by neighborhood kids that "The Woman in White" took Natalie. Police Chief Bill Vickery implies that the boy who saw this is "trash" and can't be trusted. Camille says they used to scare each other with stories about the Woman in White abducting children but Vickery and Richard insist that Natalie and Ann were murdered by a man. Adora accuses Camille of being drunk at Natalie's funeral and says that Natalie reminded her of Camille when she was young, and that she tried to help Natalie.|
|3||"Fix"||Jean-Marc Vallée||Alex Metcalf||July 22, 2018||1.03|
|After a party, a drunk Amma crashes a golf cart into her mother's rosebushes. Camille flashes back to her recent stay in a psychiatric facility, where she shared a room with a young woman named Alice. They become friends listening to Alice’s music, but Alice commits suicide by drinking drain cleaner and a devastated Camille slashes her own wrists. In the present, Camille interviews Bob Nash, who thinks John Keene was involved. Vickery calls Adora, who arrives and rebukes Camille while comforting Bob. Later, John Keene accuses Bob Nash of being involved. John's girlfriend, Ashley Wheeler, is one of the few people friendly to Camille. After a conversation between Adora and Vickery, Adora warns Amma about Camille and that she is dangerous. Richard is frustrated by lack of cooperation from the public in Wind Gap and by Vickery belittling his belief that the murderer is from within the town. He tells Camille to stay out of his way. It is revealed that Adora also knew Ann and tutored her.|
|4||"Ripe"||Jean-Marc Vallée||Vince Calandra||July 29, 2018||0.93|
|Camille attends a luncheon with Jackie and her other friends, where they discuss Bob Nash and John Keene. Soon after, she shows Richard around numerous crime scenes within Wind Gap before taking him to a hunting shed in the woods where high school jocks have sex with cheerleaders. A flashback shows Camille as a cheerleader being chased by a group of boys before seemingly being raped. In the present, Camille is sexually pleasured by Richard and the two kiss afterwards. Amma is revealed to have created nasty posters of John Keene who is soon fired from his job at Adora's hog factory because of his reputation. As Calhoun Day approaches, Amma practices for a play and flirts with her teacher privately. Alan snaps at Adora who soon talks with Camille about her disappointment that Camille went against her mother as a teenager before finally informing her that she smells "ripe". That night, Camille learns from John Keene that Amma was close friends with Ann and Natalie. As a result, Camille has a disturbing vision of Amma dead in the hunting shed.|
|5||"Closer"||Jean-Marc Vallée||Scott Brown||August 5, 2018||1.17|
|Workers begin dressing up the backyard of Adora's home for the Calhoun Day celebrations as Amma discovers Camille's article about the murders. Angry, Amma steals Camille's clothes in the dressing room when shopping for an outfit and Camille is forced to reveal her scars to Amma and her mother, who is hurt that she did it out of spite. A guilt-ridden Amma soon presents Camille with a dress and apologizes. During Calhoun Day, Richard notices Bob Nash heavily drinking at the party while Ashley confronts Camille for not including her in the article. Adora notices Camille talking with Richard and takes him on a private tour of the house where she tells him that Camille is dangerous. During the play, a fight emerges between Bob and John and a frightened Amma flees. The guests go on a search for Amma but Camille finds her injured in the shed and brings her home. Later that night, Adora explains to Camille why she never loved her. A distraught Camille flees and arrives at Richard's motel and has sex with him.|
|6||"Cherry"||Jean-Marc Vallée||Dawn Kamoche & Ariella Blejer||August 12, 2018||1.13|
|Alan blames Camille for her mother's illness and reprimands her for mentioning the dead girls and threatens to kick her out. Flashbacks show Camille as a cheerleader back in high school, during which her friends make nasty remarks about her period; Becca, the only black girl, helps her and notices the word "Cherry" carved on her thigh. In present day, Camille joins her old friends for brunch and only connects with Becca. Richard digs into Camille's past and visits the psychiatric hospital. That night as Camille purchases liquor, she finds Amma and her friends, who invite her to a party. There, John and Ashley show up but soon Amma and her friends drunkenly abuse the two, which causes them to leave. Amma convinces Camille to take OxyContin and ecstasy and the two of them roller skate through Wind Gap. The two return home and Amma begs to go with Camille to St. Louis. Amma and Camille pass out in Camille's bedroom while Adora watches with sadness.|
|7||"Falling"||Jean-Marc Vallée||Gillian Flynn & Scott Brown||August 19, 2018||1.25|
|Camille wakes up to find herself in bed and being treated by Adora. Meanwhile, Richard continues his investigation of Marian Crellin and discovers that she was actually poisoned by Adora, who likely has Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Under the pretense of medicine for her hangover, Adora similarly gives poison to Amma. As the police search for him, Camille discovers John Keene at a bar where the two talk before leaving for a motel room and having sex. Soon afterward, the police arrive and arrest John. Richard berates Camille after seeing her in bed with John, ending their relationship. Camille learns of her mother’s condition from Jackie, and also that Marian's body was cremated to avoid suspicion. After leaving in a hurry, Camille breaks down to Curry and refuses his plea for her to return to St. Louis, intending instead to confront her mother.|
|8||"Milk"||Jean-Marc Vallée||Marti Noxon & Gillian Flynn||August 26, 2018||1.76|
|Camille returns home to find her family seated for dinner. She pretends to be sick to divert Adora's attention away from Amma. Adora poisons Camille to the point of near-death. Richard knocks on the door and asks for Camille but Alan states that she is at a girlfriend's house. Richard arrives later with Curry and Chief Vickery, and Adora is arrested for poisoning her daughters. Richard finds bloody pliers that match the earlier murders. While recovering at the hospital, Richard tells Camille that her mother poisoned her with rat poison and Amma built a tolerance towards it over the years while she did not. Amma moves with Camille to St. Louis and befriends a neighbor named Mae who then goes missing. Camille finds a tooth inside Amma's dollhouse and realizes the floor of one room is made entirely of teeth. Amma sees Camille looking at the tooth and says slyly, "Don't tell Mama." In a mid-credits scene, Amma is seen with her friends killing Ann, then Natalie, and her killing Mae on her own.|
In 2008, it was reported that Gillian Flynn's novel Sharp Objects was in development by French production company Pathé with Andrea Arnold set to direct. By 2012, it was reported that the novel had been optioned by Alliance Films with Jason Blum expected to serve as a producer. Subsequently, Marti Noxon approached Blum with her vision for an eight episode television series.
On July 8, 2014, it was announced that Blumhouse Productions and Entertainment One would be developing and producing a drama based on the debut novel from Gillian Flynn. Marti Noxon would serve as the showrunner, writer and executive producer, while Jean-Marc Vallée would serve as the director and executive producer.
On April 1, 2016, it was announced that HBO had given the production an eight episode straight-to-series order. On May 15, 2018, it was announced that the series would premiere on July 8, 2018. On July 25, 2018, HBO president of programming Casey Bloys confirmed that, unlike other HBO series Big Little Lies which was originally ordered as a limited series before being renewed for a second season, Sharp Objects will not return for more episodes following its limited run.
On February 19, 2016, Variety reported that Amy Adams had joined the project as its lead. In March 2017, it was announced that Patricia Clarkson, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins, Madison Davenport, Chris Messina, Matt Craven, and Taylor John Smith had been cast in series regular roles. It was also announced that Will Chase, Jackson Hurst, and Jennifer Aspen had joined the cast in a recurring capacity. On May 22, 2017, it was announced that David Sullivan, Reagan Pasternak, Sydney Sweeney, Hilary Ward, and Sophia Lillis had been cast in recurring roles.
Principal photography for the series commenced on March 6, 2017. Filming locations included Barnesville, Georgia; Los Angeles, California; Redwood Valley, California; Santa Clarita, California; and Mendocino, California.
It was reported that there was a fair amount of turmoil on the set of the series. Showrunner Noxon described the alleged "toe-to-toe screaming matches" she and the other producers would get into with director Vallée over his refusal to adhere closely to the series' scripts. Noxon has described Vallée as "much more interested in imagery and telling stories through pictures, and he's brilliant at that...but I love language...I studied theatre at Wesleyan before I became a writer, and the beauty of language, particularly in the Southern Gothic tradition, is so important to me." Noxon together with Gillian Flynn, Jessica Rhoades, Amy Adams, and another male producer would reportedly have to pressure Vallée to include the dialogue of the script in his scenes, to his displeasure.
Each episode features a title sequence with a different interpretation of the song "Dance and Angela" by Franz Waxman from the score of the 1951 film A Place in the Sun. An electronic treatment of the song, by Jeffrey Brodsky, was used for the second episode. All music featured in the series is diegetic, coming from a source (a stereo, headphones, etc.) within the scene. The series secured the rights to four songs by Led Zeppelin, a band which is notoriously hard to get the rights for. Music supervisor Susan Jacobs stated, "We were trying to explain the importance of what music really does and how it plays a really pivotal role in this girl's life" and "also the escapism idea of music." The band liked the idea and approved the usage of their music.
On June 7, 2018, the series held its world premiere during the opening night screening at the annual ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas. Following the premiere, a question-and-answer panel took place featuring Amy Adams, Marti Noxon, Gillian Flynn, Jean-Marc Vallée, and Jason Blum.
Sharp Objects was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 27, 2018.
The series was met with a positive response from critics upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 92% approval rating with an average rating of 8.14 out of 10 based on 118 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "A nearly unbearable slow burn, Sharp Objects maintains its grip with an unshakably grim atmosphere and an outstanding cast led by a superb Amy Adams." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 78 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
In a positive review, the Chicago Sun Times's Richard Roeper awarded the series four stars and praised it saying, "Graced with some of the best performances Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson have ever given, directed with sure-handed and sometimes flamboyant style by Jean-Marc Vallee and dripping with honey-coated but often barbed dialogue, Sharp Objects is flat-out great television. In another encouraging criticism, The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg was similarly complimentary saying, "On TV, Sharp Objects can't precisely capture Flynn's prose and the internalized descent into disorientation taken page-by-page, but series director Jean-Marc Vallee finds his own visual language that, driven by a ferociously wounded performance by Amy Adams, makes this eight-hour limited series haunting and riveting — both prestige and pulp." In a further approving editorial, The New York Times's James Poniewozik described the series as "mesmerizing" and commended it saying, "There's no cat-and-mouse game going on, no taunts from a genius criminal. Sharp Objects instead relies on internal drama and a transfixing Ms. Adams, who lays Camille’s ragged soul bare with sardonicism and self-loathing."
In a more mixed assessment, USA Today's Kelly Lawler gave the series a rating of two stars out of four and said, "Although the eight-episode series eventually perks up, in the seven parts made available for review it's often a lazy, dreary summer mystery that feels exploitative of the violence it depicts. It's a disappointing adaptation of its source material, with all the gravitas of a trashy beach read." In a further ambivalent editorial, TVLine's Dave Nemetz gave the series a "B-" grade and said, "There's enough intriguing material in Sharp Objects to keep me watching until the end; at the very least, it’s still an artfully shot showcase for some fine acting, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. But considering the big names involved and the promising source material, it can’t help but feel like a letdown."
|1||"Vanish"||July 8, 2018||0.5||1.54||0.1||0.59||0.6||2.13[b]|
|2||"Dirt"||July 15, 2018||0.3||1.10||N/A||0.74||N/A||1.84|
|3||"Fix"||July 22, 2018||0.3||1.03||N/A||0.79||N/A||1.82|
|4||"Ripe"||July 29, 2018||0.2||0.93||0.3||N/A||0.5||N/A|
|5||"Closer"||August 5, 2018||0.4||1.17||0.1||0.62||0.5||1.79[b]|
|6||"Cherry"||August 12, 2018||0.3||1.13||0.2||0.57||0.5||1.70[b]|
|7||"Falling"||August 19, 2018||0.4||1.25||0.3||0.94||0.7||2.19|
|8||"Milk"||August 26, 2018||0.5||1.76||0.2||0.71||0.7||2.47[b]|
Awards and nominations
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