Review by Sean Boelman
From The Girl From Plainville to Under the Banner of Heaven, it seems like Hulu is on the search for America’s newest true-crime obsession. Their newest entry into the genre, Candy, is perhaps the best one yet, a riveting and ambiguous exploration of its real-life events that spins the tropes on their head.
The series tells the story of Candy Montgomery, a housewife living a seemingly idyllic life until she is accused of the murder of her lover’s wife. It’s a story that lends itself extremely well to a series like this, and the way that it is written is intriguing, eschewing a linear narrative in favor of an experience that is much more emotionally-driven and challenging
One of the most interesting things about the series is that it is being released as a five-night event. This is a release strategy that isn’t often used anymore, but this feels like event storytelling, both in its presentation and its story. It’s a potboiler with one shocking reveal after the next, and viewers will be left eager to see where the story goes next.
Admittedly, the show doesn't go into much depth with its themes, and a big part of that is likely the fact that the series is only five episodes. The show explores the adultery aspect in a way that several other series have before. Where it could have had some commentary on domestic life, it largely falls flat.
The character development of the show might turn some heads in how it depicts the subject. Obviously, it’s based on a true story, so many viewers might know the outcome. However, the series makes a point of playing with what the audience thinks they know — challenging the line that exists between guilty and innocent.
Jessica Biel gives an extraordinary performance in her leading role that will go down as career-defining work. The balance she is able to strike between empathetic and cold is downright fantastic. Melanie Lynskey and Pablo Schreiber are also standouts, giving performances that are significantly against type and very compelling.
Like many of the other true crime series that have come out recently, there is a definite schlock factor here, but the ‘80s aesthetic makes it work that much better. It’s the type of show where you are acutely aware that what you are watching is a heavily exaggerated take on events, but it embraces that fully.
Candy is the newest must-see television event — this spring’s Mare of Easttown or The Undoing. Yes, it’s slightly trashy, but that’s exactly what audiences are clamoring for from a project like this, and it delivers.
Candy streams on Hulu beginning May 9 as a five-day event. All five episodes reviewed.