TV: Alias Grace (2017)

Sarah Gadon in Alias Grace (2017)
Alias Grace (Netflix)
Release Date: 03 Nov 2017

Alias Grace is a 2917 six-part series on Netflix. Each of the six episodes was around an hour each. Synopsis: In 19th-century Canada, a psychiatrist weighs whether a murderess should be pardoned due to insanity.

Based on the 1996 Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, “Alias Grace” tells the story of young Grace Marks, a poor Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who is accused and convicted of the 1843 murder of her employer and his housekeeper. Stablehand James McDermott is also convicted of the crime. McDermott is hanged, but Grace is sentenced to life in prison, leading her to become one of the most notorious women of the period in Canada. The story is based on actual 19th-century events.

I enjoyed it. It was layered so well and allowed the dramatic tension escalate without me realizing it. The acting was well done, the story, the cinematography. I am glad I took the time to watch it. I had been interested in it as I am a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Cast:

Sarah Gadon  Grace Marks (6 episodes, 2017)
Edward Holcroft  Dr. Simon Jordan (6 episodes, 2017)
Rebecca Liddiard  Mary Whitney (6 episodes, 2017)
Zachary Levi  Jeremiah Pontelli (6 episodes, 2017)
Kerr Logan  James McDermott (6 episodes, 2017)
David Cronenberg  Reverend Verringer / … (6 episodes, 2017)
Paul Gross  Thomas Kinnear (6 episodes, 2017)
Anna Paquin  Nancy Montgomery (6 episodes, 2017)
Sarah Manninen  Mrs. Humphrey (5 episodes, 2017)
Stephen Joffe  Jamie Walsh (4 episodes, 2017)

Trivia:

  • Executive producer / writer Sarah Polley first tried to acquire the rights to the novel Alias Grace when the book came out in 1996. It took Sarah Polley a little over 20 years to bring this miniseries to its fruition.
  • In order to promote the series, over 70 copies of the book Alias Grace – along with a small note from author Margaret Atwood – were hidden throughout Canada prior to the series’ premiere on Sept. 25, 2017.
  • The original novel is based on factual events, but it’s historical fiction. Several characters, including Dr. Simon Jordan, were created by author Margaret Atwood.
  • In the novel, it is stated that Grace’s trial begins on November 3rd. The series aired on Netflix on November 3rd
  • There were 4 cast members who were alumni of the show “Reign” & the miniseries “Anne of Green Gable”. Meg Ruffman (Diane) portrayed Alice Lawson the Avonlea mercantile owner and Susannah Hoffmann (Dr. Simon Jordan’s mother) played Jan Pringle, a spoiled rich student of Anne’s. While the gentleman Michael Therriault (Mr. McDonald) was Lord Castleroy, husband to Mary Queen of Scott’s lady in waiting Greer and Jonathan Goad ( Grace’s father) was Rev. John Knox, Mary’s adversary in Reign’s final season.
  • Grace shows Dr. Jordan her patchwork square and explains the log cabin represents the home, while “the center is always red, for the hearth.” It is traditional to have the center of log cabin blocks red for the hearth or the heart, but it is not required, as seen in the next flashback a few seconds later when Grace and Mary are airing out the quilts of the Parkinson household. The quilt seen on the right of the screen is a log cabin pattern, made with dark/light patches like Grace’s, without the red centers.

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