As a staunch Groundhog Day fan, I think I had at least three different people recommend Russian Doll to me the moment it came out on Netflix. For those of you who might not have heard about it, it’s a time-loop series. A woman starts off at a party and then keeps coming back to that same party over and over and over again.
Post Groundhog Day, this is actually a plot that’s been coming up more and more in movies and television, and I have a soft spot for them. It’s always interesting to me to see how each different story handles it. How they put their individual spin on it. So it’s no real surprise that people thought of me as soon as they hear about the show. And so as soon as I finished The Americans, I turned to Russian Doll.
First, a disclaimer. It’s a foul mouthed show. F bombs are as plentiful as pronouns at times. So this is most definitely Not a Show for Everyone.
Which is a real shame, because it’s a fascinating show with a great mystery at its heart. Great acting and writing. Complex characters that start off as insanely unlikable and somehow turn into people we’re really honestly rooting for. And the language adds literally nothing to anything. Yes, you could argue it helps define who the main character is, but there are so many ways you can show someone’s gruff and uncaring without having them spew profanity with each breath. It’s a sloppy, weak crutch in my book, and I think the show would have been much better without it. Or at least without as much of it. I like salt as much as the next guy, but I don’t throw the whole shaker in.
If you can get past that, as I say, there’s a lot in the show that will appeal to you. Overall, it’s put together well, and the ending doesn’t disappoint. I don’t want to say too much about it, since so much of the show runs on mystery. Just don’t go in expecting answers right away. You’re supposed to be confused and asking yourself a lot of questions. That’s okay. They do eventually get answered. (It’s always nice to know that going in, just so you can have some faith in the show.)
Is it my favorite time loop movie (other than Groundhog Day)? Well, no. Edge of Tomorrow, Looper, FAQ about Time Travel, and Primer come to mind right off. (I have yet to see Happy Death Day. It’s on my list, though!) But this is one of the better ones. Overall, I gave it an 8/10. I just wish I could recommend it more widely than I can . . .
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