Hulu’s Candy Review – The true-crime genre is still going strong, defying all expectations and ignoring any indicators of decency. The public’s infatuation with real-life killings and other heinous acts in that realm appears to know no limitations. After all, the sight of ordinary people in American suburbia committing heinous acts of violence will always shock and enthral the broader public.
Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore’s story is one of them, a riveting true story that you can easily classify under the heading of “stranger than fiction.” Hulu has crafted a gripping, scary five-part series based on this notion for you to enjoy this May.
Hulu’s ‘Candy’ Review: Is It Worth Watching?
Candy’s premise is intriguing: after having an affair with her husband, Alan, a perfectly normal, well-liked housewife goes insane on Friday the 13th, brutally murdering her quiet and unassuming friend Betty Gore. The case astounds an entire town — if not the entire country — prompting neighbours and friends to doubt each other’s motives and who they can trust in the long term.
Hulu’s depiction of the narrative, starring Jessica Biel as Candy and Melanie Lynskey as the tragic Betty Gore, sets itself up for tense, escalating drama, airing its first episode on May 9 and dropping an episode a day for the next five days until it reaches its finale.
It focuses on Candy Montgomery’s ideal existence from the start, as an attentive and on-the-go mother. She has no qualms about probing into other people’s personal lives or even taking them altogether if they irritate her enough; wait, what?
If that sentence perplexed you, you’d probably feel the same way when watching Candy unfold. The programme aspires to be many things and is as indecisive as a tiny child in a candy store with untreated ADHD. With showrunner Robin Veith turning the town of Wylie, Texas into a fishbowl for the audience to look into, a time machine back to 1980.
When The Empire Strikes Back was in theatres and giant, and wire-frame glasses were the pinnacle of style, there’s a certain amount of discomfort that always comes with “based on true events” crime stories, but especially so here, with showrunner Robin Veith turning the town of Wylie, Texas into a fishbowl for the audience
Where was Candy the morning of June 13?
— Candy on Hulu 🪓 (@candyonhulu) April 29, 2022
The series bounces back and forth between gauzy idealism and agonising awkwardness, never quite knowing where it wants to go. Is it trying to defend Candy Montgomery as a lady who had a psychotic break after years of suffering and marital strife, or is it trying to convict her? She has ironically equal feelings of guilt and joy. The episode is jumbled in the same way that many of Hulu’s prior original ventures have been muddled; the film False Positive comes to mind.
As a result, many of the personalities are reduced to chess pieces, mere shallow reflections of live, breathing individuals. The most apparent example is Betty Gore’s infantilization, a loving mother. Her main storyline seems to revolve around her lack of an adult understanding of sex, despite the fact that she already has a daughter.
Candy, on the other hand, looks plucked from the pages of a 1980s teen drama: the most popular girl in school (or rather, her little Texas village), just catty enough to make you wonder if you should trust her as much as everyone else.
It’s strange and disconcerting to set the two women up as such clear clichés, even if they are parallel. It’s never easy to bring real people to life, especially those who have been persecuted, but it’s a letdown to see Lynskey mostly ignored after her Critics Choice Award-winning performance in Yellowjackets.
Not to mention that the show makes the cardinal fault of true crime adaptations by focusing too much on the killer and not enough on the victims, altering the audience’s sense of who is truly in the wrong.
To the show’s credit, the actors make a gallant effort to bring their bland, paper doll characters to life. Biel is well-suited to tense drama, as we all learned during her tenure on The Sinner before it became an anthology series, and her rare moments of deep thought and anguish show out through the filmy lens that the entire series is bathed in.
Timothy Simons gives a stand-out performance as Pat Montgomery in the show’s final few episodes, when sudden revelations turn a sweet and dedicated husband into something much darker and more painful. But it’s Pablo Schreiber who steals the show as Alan Gore, the unfaithful but still heartbroken husband of Lynskey’s deceased Betty Gore and the guy. They reportedly killed his wife by having an affair with Candy Montgomery.
He appears uneasy in his own skin no matter what he’s doing, an emotion that drives his entire existence throughout the series, whether it drives him to have an affair because he can’t process his wife’s intense emotions or exacerbates his grief after she dies.
Schreiber’s portrayal is powerful in a way that no one else’s seems to be — save perhaps Ral Esparza’s Don Crowder, though his slightly crooked lawyer tends more toward camp than drama — and it drives the entire series forward, making me almost wish that it had been presented from his point of view.
Candy will most certainly end up in the hallowed halls of true crime adaptations’ past, nestled among serialised procedurals and Netflix documentaries as the kind of stuff my grandparents will watch on a Sunday afternoon after watching NCIS one too many times.
It’s okay, but not outstanding, and for someone who appreciates mystery novels, this series would be a good weekend binge, a one-and-done to watch while cleaning or with friends, so Hulu’s continual release schedule makes sense. Candy, in the end, pales in comparison to Biel’s portrayal in The Sinner, but perhaps that’s just the overabundance of true-crime stories at work.
Where Can You Find Candy to Watch?
Hope you enjoyed reading Candy review, and now you want to know where to watch it. Candy will premiere on Hulu on May 9. Candy has chosen an unusual release plan, releasing one new episode every night for five nights. If you enjoyed the first episode of Candy, make sure to tune in every day until the conclusion airs on Hulu on May 13. Alternatively, you may wait until May 13 or later to binge the entire series.
Don't miss the #CandyOnHulu premiere, Monday May 9. New episodes daily.
— Candy on Hulu 🪓 (@candyonhulu) May 3, 2022
Candy may be for you if you’re looking for another true crime period piece set in the early 1980s. With its focus on not only Betty’s suicide, but also the societal elements that surrounded and limited both Candy and Betty, this series might be a fascinating look at the pain and pressures that lurk beneath the surface in so many seemingly ideal communities.