Candy Review: Jessica Biel is the Main Attraction in This Riveting Limited Series
The current obsession with miniseries based on true crimes continues with Hulu’s five-part Candy.
The series is getting a different rollout strategy than previous shows on the streaming service, premiering Monday, May 9, and dropping an episode a day until its finale on Friday, May 13, aka Friday the 13th.
TV Fanatic got the chance to watch the series in its entirety ahead of launch, and it works well as a five-chapter story that borrows elements from the case while adding in some developments that help amp up the tension.
Jessica Biel turned in a chilling role on The Sinner, but she’s far more menacing here as the titular character, Candy Montgomery.
On the surface, Candy has it all. She has a beautiful family and an exquisite house, but it’s not enough for her.
She wants more, and the series charts her journey from suburban housewife to someone who brutally murders her supposed friend, Betty Gore.
The Candy from the end of the story is a complete 180 from the earlier Candy, but she shows shades of darkness at the start, even if she’s smiling from ear to ear as though butter wouldn’t melt.
Candy is calculating and knows what to do to get what she wants, and Biel will probably be in line for awards with her portrayal of the cunning and manipulative Candy.
It’s a multi-faceted performance that will leave you feeling extremely uneasy. It makes for great TV, and the beauty of this acting style is that viewers won’t be able to guess what words — or actions — will come from her next.
Thanks to standout performances on Yellowjackets and Don’t Look Up, Melanie Lynskey is coming off a red-hot year. Her fans will be glad to know this is a markedly different direction in her portrayal of Betty Gore.
Lynskey excels with complicated characters. She has the ability to take all eyes off everyone else in the scene, and that’s on full display here.
People who followed the case likely don’t know much about Betty.
That’s because the media’s focus has been on Candy because of the following question:
What pushes someone who has it all to murder someone in such a brutal fashion?
Thankfully, the miniseries tells a non-linear story, allowing viewers to get a front-row seat into how Candy murdered Betty and its effect on the small community where it happened.
Non-linear storytelling isn’t for everyone, but it works very well to tell viewers everything they need to know.
Another vital aspect of the show is the characterization of Betty.
You would expect a series examining a murder to paint the victim as a saint, but that’s not the case here.
Pablo Schrieber is also on board as Betty’s husband, Allan, a man who wants to spend as little time at home with his wife and child as possible.
That’s not to say Allan went out of his way to start an affair. He simply doesn’t know how to communicate with Betty.
They’re both miserable, and the lack of communication is what keeps them apart.
We’ve witnessed relationships on TV that are being held down because couples just don’t want to communicate.
Communication is the key to any relationship, which may be one of the more significant messages to take from the series.
There’s a lot to like about the series, but it might have benefited from having fewer installments and being told as a movie.
The series is a pressure cooker environment as we watch people become the worst possible versions of themselves.
If that’s your thing, then you’ll be in your element.
In true Hollywood fashion, HBO Max is also working on a Candy Montgomery series, Love and Death, with Elizabeth Olsen as Candy and Lily Rabe as Betty, and it will be interesting to see how the two productions differ.
Will you check out Hulu’s Candy?
Have a look at the trailer below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.