Monday, 17 November 2014

Olive Kitteridge Is Wearing My Skirt


 Warning: Seriously Depressed Seniors Here was what one viewer wrote as his opinion of the four part mini-series Olive Kitteridge.  Hubby and I just finished it and our opinion was a far more positive one.  Yes, there are several seriously depressed seniors in this show, but it is much more than that.
 Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book of the same name by Elizabeth Strout, it chronicles the life of an aging Maine school teacher; we are shown her marriage, her relationship with her son, her struggles with the bits and pieces of life that snag us all. I should mention that her husband, Henry, is played wonderfully by  Richard Jenkins . 
I read the book several years ago and enjoyed  the writing very much.  I was very interested to see how it would play as a movie.  I was afraid Olive was just too unlikeable a character for anyone to root for and therefore, her behaviour and mannerisms would have to be changed.  But then it wouldn't be Olive Kitteridge anymore. 
 I needn't have worried. The Olive on paper has survived on film.  Frances McDormand does a wonderful job of showing us Olive with all her warts and especially her social awkwardness which I think is the root cause of some of her rudeness.  I identified with her as a teacher, a mother, with her strong sense of morals and on deeper levels as well. Olive seems to define the reality that for some of us, relationships are hard, really, really hard, no other way to put it.
And oh yes,in one scene, pictured above, Olive is wearing a blue, button front skirt- it's identical to one I have in my own summer-clothes box.  I can just imagine the wardrobe people on the set saying now how do we dress a school teacher; oh yes, dowdy, that's it.