REVIEW: ‘Candy’ is Propelled By Its Lead

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Candy Review - But Why Tho

Hulu has embraced ripped from the headlines series and this month offers up a mini-series that is propelled by its lead. Candy is a five-episode mini-series released daily on the streaming platform that unwraps the life and crime of Candance Montgomery, a bored with life housewife.

The series is created by Robin Veith and Nick Antosca and stars Jessica Biel, Timothy Simons, Melanie Lynskey, Pablo Schreiber, and Raúl Esparza. Set in 1980, Candy is the ideal housewife. She’s an attentive mother with a good husband, two kids, a nice house, and a love of erotic novels. Her life is so buttoned-up that she even plans her transgressions. When her life can’t keep her interested, Candy ventures out to have a well-thought-out affair with boundaries, reasons, and an escape plan. Then, one day, she snaps.

Based on true events, the mini-series follows Candance, Candy to her friends, her life, and then her crime. However, much of it isn’t spent unpacking the why of it all, instead, Candy is a pure retelling clearly put together from our lead’s perspective. There is no apologetics in this story, thankfully. However, we don’t get a full sense of her victim’s life. Beyond that, the crime itself is a relatively small element of the series.

This makes the mini-series easily feel like a fictional period piece and not a mini-series based on a real event. By taking time to slowly build-up to the crime and unravel the moments leading up to it, the bulk of the episodes are just about Candy living life even if we initially see the fallout of the event. We wind up in this weird state of what looks like justification but also looks like condemnation depending on what scene is happening. This may be due in large part to Biel’s performance.

As the woman at the center of it all Biel is unrecognizable from herself. In her most transformative role to date, there is a calculation to every move that shows a callousness not only in the crime she commits but in every relationship we see formed on the screen. Biel manages to play a housewife deadset on meeting expectations while also bringing out the aggression that that calls for. There is no malice, only the need to succeed in her goal whether that is her transgressions or being the dutiful housewife. Of all the episodes, however, the manipulation and logic we see from Candy, devoid of guilt in the mini-series finale make it worth the watch. Ultimately, Candy is propelled by its lead.

Additionally, the series extended cast give good performances but none meet Biel’s one-to-one. However, the standout next to Candy is Pablo Schrieber’s Allan. A weak-willed man with a wife and kids he seems utterly disinterested in, Schrieber as Allan is unrecognizable. While currently bringing to life Paramount+’s Master Chief in HaloSchrieber has the gravitas needed for that iconic role. But in Candy, he shrinks himself. While visually, he is a large man, Schrieber transforms into Allan by slouching, doubling over himself, and speaking softly in a way that draws you in. It’s a role we haven’t seen the actor in before and he rises to the occasion.

Despite Biel’s transformative performance, Candy, at times, is as boring as the life that the lead character is trying to push back against. With five one-hour episodes all surrounding one event, there isn’t enough build-up or exploration to warrant the episode order. In fact, a more focused look at Candy and her crime could have been distilled into a feature film to have the same effect.

While Candy isn’t thrilling, outside the first and last episode, Biel’s performance as a manipulative and calculating housewife is what makes this mini-series worth watching. Sure there are elements that don’t land, but Biel alone is worth tuning in. Slow and steady, Candy works its way towards a strong finale on Biel’s talent alone.

Candy is streaming now exclusively on Hulu. 


Candy
  • 6.5/10
    Rating - 6.5/10
6.5/10

TL;DR

While Candy isn’t thrilling, outside the first and last episode, Biel’s performance as a manipulative and calculating housewife is what makes this mini-series worth watching. Sure there are elements that don’t land, but Biel alone is worth tuning in. Slow and steady, Candy works its way towards a strong finale on Biel’s talent alone.