Hulu’s horrifying new original series “The Act” follows the unbelievable true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother Dee Dee. Their story first made headlines in June 2015 when police arrived at the Blanchard’s home to find Dee Dee stabbed to death and Gypsy, her supposedly disabled and wheelchair-bound daughter, missing. What would happen next is stranger than fiction. Gypsy was located unharmed in northern Wisconsin at the home of a young man named Nick Godejohn. More shockingly, Gypsy was walking effortlessly and appeared completely healthy. In the end it was Godejohn, Gypsy’s secret online boyfriend, who committed the murder at Gypsy’s request in order to free her from her mother’s abuse.
Over the course of 8 hour-long episodes, “The Act” chronicles Gypsy’s teenage years living with her overprotective mother who suffers from a rare mental illness known as Munchausen by proxy syndrome where a caregiver makes up or causes illness or injury to a person in their care. Gypsy is forced to sit in a wheelchair, take dozens of unnecessary medications, and eat from a feeding tube just so her mother can feel needed
From an entertainment stand point, “The Act” is captivatingly terrifying. Patricia Arquette and Joey King’s emotional performances as Dee Dee and Gypsy respectively are compelling and feel very realistic. King makes Gypsy a character that you will find yourself rooting for as you despise her overbearing counterpart, Dee Dee. However, every character is multidimensional and no one appears as just a criminal- they all possess some relatable and endearing qualities- making the conclusion even more disturbing.
The show uses music, flashbacks, and lighting to create an unsettling ambience that is at times very disturbing. Rarely becoming overdramatic, “The Act” depicts horrifying scenes in a realistic, chilling manner, showing how routine such abuse unfortunately was for Gypsy.
I definitely would recommend this show to lovers of thrillers and true crime dramas. It was certainly worth the $5.99 Hulu subscription. 4.5/5 Stars
– Claire Reid