Binge and Repeat: Exploring ‘The Act’
A few years back the horrifying murder of DeeDee Blanchard was splashed across the headlines. During the course of the murder investigation details of her daughter’s abuse garnered even more attention to the story, resulting in the public’s fascination with the grim case.
When watching “The Act,” viewers pay witness to the dark and often difficult to watch events that led Gypsy Rose Blanchard to have her boyfriend kill her abusive mother.
The Hulu series recreates the events of Gypsy’s abuse and explores how DeeDee’s alleged Munchausens by Proxy caused her daughter to suffer. The series shows how isolated from the rest of the world Gypsy was and reveals the extent to which DeeDee ensured her daughter would never leave her. Gypsy loses all of her teeth due to an unnecessary surgery she underwent, she is forced to live in a wheelchair she doesn’t need, her head is shaved, she is lied to about her age, she eats through a feeding tube she doesn’t need and her mother manipulates her into believing that if Gypsy deviates from DeeDee’s set rules, one or both of them will suffer.
“The Act” is an artfully conveyed narrative about the manipulations by both mother and daughter that fleeced entire communities into providing them with financial aid and medical support.
Joey King provides a devastating portrayal of Gypsy Rose, brilliantly conveying how a child could still love her mother despite suffering through the abuse and manipulative behavior that marked her childhood. Calum Worthy also brings an intense and heartbreaking performance to the series as Nicholas Godejohn, Gypsy Rose’s boyfriend, who has a history of mental illness. Patricia Arquette rounds out the series as the manipulative and too-sweet-to-be-real DeeDee Blanchard. This series, while incredibly horrific and hard to watch at times, is absolutely captivating and will leave viewers wanting to know more even after the final credit rolls.
“The Act” is rated TV-MA and is available on Hulu. True crime junkies might also enjoy “Abducted in Plain Sight,” a documentary about the bizarre manipulations that resulted in a child marriage. Fans might also enjoy the HBO series “Sharp Objects,” based on the book by Gillian Flynn.