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Women, murder, booze and scars in HBO's Sharp Objects, where 'bless your heart' actually means 'fuck you'.

Tightness. A sense of oppression prevails when watching the new (mini)series from HBO's stable, Sharp Objects. The series launched this week, but I got to see a few episodes in advance. HBO's Sharp Objects is a film adaptation of the book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, author of the exciting Gone Girl. With Sharp Objects comes HBO, after Big Little Lies, with yet another fascinating murder mystery. Only better.

Amy Adams plays the lead role of vodka-drinking reporter Camille Preaker from St.Louis. She is sent by her editor to her hometown to report on two girls-one is missing and the other is dead. Through flashbacks, it becomes clear early in the story that Camille's demons are linked to this town, Wind Gap. To what extreme degree, that gradually becomes clear.

Photo: Anne Marie Fox/ HBO

Southern scars

The dark, clammy, tense southern atmosphere of Sharp Objects Very reminiscent of HBOs True Detective, especially the first and best season. Wind Gap is the stereotypical southern hamlet, where everyone knows, or thinks they know, everything about each other. The inhabitants are of either old money or 'trash'. Southern hospitality is paramount, but clashes with distrust of anything foreign, (and) not authentically Wind Gap. To complete the image of the old South, Camille's family also employs a dark-skinned housekeeper. Of course, this one is the opposite of the cold, haughty mother.

Photo: Anne Marie Fox/HBO

Using short and dynamic flashbacks to her childhood and family life, it becomes clear why Camille lives in a constant state of (alcoholic) torpor. More importantly, to what extent it has damaged her. Both literally and figuratively. Her inner pain has come out. Indeed, she is covered from head to toe -from torso to ankles- with scars. Camille has used her body as a canvas to carve her pain there, literally.

Men are an afterthought

As in Big Little Lies the focus in Sharp Objects is on women and especially their relationships with each other. Especially between Camille, her Southern Belle mother Adora (excellent role by Patricia Clarkson), Camille's Janus half-sister Amma and her late half-sister Marian. Men don't really seem to matter in Sharp Objects.

The more glimpses you get 'behind the scenes' of House Preaker, the clearer it becomes that nothing is what it seems. Just like "Bless your heart" actually means "Fuck you".

Photo: Anne Marie Fox/ HBO

Daughter Amma is not the sweet, perfect doll she wants her mother to believe, nor is she just the spoilt, roller-skating, drinking mean girl. Besides, a mother's overpowering love and attention is not always natural and/or healthy. Everything in Wind Gap is rough and, just like a festering wound, that too must eventually burst open. What Sharp Objects also especially want to make clear is that you should not underestimate women, at any point.

HBO's Sharp Objects is dark, raw and mysterious, a series that grips you and keeps you gripped. Where every episode makes you yearn for the next one. It's a must-see this summer.

Good to know Good to know

Sharp Objects consists of 8 episodes, episode 1 has been available since 9 July on Ziggo Movies & Series.

Annika Hoogeveen

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