Series Review

Period miniseries 'Alias Grace' will intrigue fans 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Based on the book by Margaret Atwood, this true tale of a young woman jailed for murder encourages empathy for her circumstances

12 November 2017 - 00:00

It has been a good television year for Margaret Atwood. In the age of Donald Trump and the #MeToo fightback against sexual assault, the Canadian novelist's works have seemed ever more prescient and ripe for adaptation.
On the back of Hulu's Emmy win for the channel's adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale comes Netflix's six-part series based on Atwood's 1996 novel Alias Grace, written by Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley and directed by fellow Canadian Mary Harron.

Based on the true story of 19th-century Irish housemaid Grace Marks, who was found guilty of murdering a Canadian landowner and his housekeeper, Alias Grace is a mystery that questions the nature of patriarchy and the ways in which it affects the developments of relationships between women in male-dominated society.
It is also, in true Atwood style, a story about the ways we present ourselves to others and the impossibility of arriving at the truth in a society that refuses to acknowledge the lies upon which it functions.
When the action begins, Grace has served 15 years in prison for the murders and, thanks to the charity of a group of spiritualists who believe her to be innocent, acquired a day job as a maid where she is interviewed by young Dr Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft), who is a kind of proto-psychologist, asking Grace to recount her story and taking notes in an attempt to come to a decision regarding her mental health.
Played with a mixture of careful diligence and emotional shift by Sarah Gadon, Grace appears to be a dutiful, honest young woman who has done her best to lead a pure, honest life in spite of the difficult hand she's been dealt.
WATCH | The trailer for Alias Grace..

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