Available on Apple TV +, the miniseries “Lisey’s Story” brings Stephen King’s most intimate novel to the screen with the unique vision of Chilean Pablo Larraín. A strange and melancholy series brilliantly carried by Julianne Moore.
What is it about ?
Traumatized by the death of her husband, a successful author, Lisey Landon tries to rebuild her life. Two years after the tragedy, she discovers clues left by her husband. A real treasure hunt begins for the widow who will discover a parallel world in which the one she loved held her darkest secrets. Having become the obsession of an unbalanced fan, Lisey will have to overcome her grief, rebuild a past that she had hidden and come to the aid of one of her sisters, Amanda, trapped in this other dimension.
Lisey’s Story, a series written by Stephen King and directed by Pablo Larraín.
Available on Apple TV +. The first two episodes available June 4, then one per week.
Who is it with?
Also producer of the series, Julianne Moore plays the title role, a tortured character who tries to reconstruct the puzzle of her past. Clive Owen plays, alongside her, her late husband Scott Landon, an author known for his fantasy novels, modeled after Stephen King himself. Julianne Moore and Clive Owen have already taken the cue in The Sons of Man by Alfonso Cuarón, released in 2006.
Lisey’s two sisters are played by disturbing thriller regular Jennifer Jason Leigh and Joan Allen, who previously appeared in Room. The actress looks stunning in the form of Amanda, a woman suffering from depression.
In more secondary roles, Ron Cephas Jones, one of the stars of the series This Is Us, interprets Dashiel, a mysterious man who wishes at all costs to seize the unpublished writings of Scott Landon. Dane DeHaan, revealed in Chronicle and former Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, plays the terrifying Jim Dooley, a dangerous and unpredictable admirer.
What is it worth?
Among the many adaptations of the works of Stephen king that flourish on screens, whether small or large, it is rare that the author himself is involved in the projects. Lisey’s story is one of the few exceptions. The eponymous novel, published in 2006, is his most intimate work and his favorite. It is for this reason that the writer decides to script the 8 episodes of the mini-series.
In production, JJ Abrams collaborates with Master of Horror again after 11.22.63 and Castle rock. They appeal to the filmmaker Pablo Larraín, director, among others, of the biopic Jackie, to bring his personal touch, a vision that is both poetic and macabre.
Scars of the Spirit
In very good hands, the mini-series ventures brilliantly into the depths of human melancholy. Lisey’s story mixes several genres – drama, horror and fantasy – to draw the intricate portraits of its protagonists who all share one thing in common: their scars.
There are those who see each other, like the character of Amanda played by Joan allen who scarifies his arms, and those that are invisible to the naked eye, as for the writer Scott Landon and his widow Lisey. The series focuses on the long work of healing to overcome grief, mental illness or childhood trauma.
Gifted at building fascinating heroes or anti-heroes, Stephen King once again proves his gift for highlighting the dark side that lies dormant in each individual. But his writing, which blends monstrosity and humanity, wouldn’t have the same impact without the powerful interpretation of Julianne Moore.
The actress, Oscar winner in 2015 for Still alice, appears more vulnerable than ever and offers a darkest compositional role. “Julianne Moore seems to take on this challenge effortlessly, but it’s a very difficult role“, underlines JJ Abrams, interviewed by AlloCine. It is the same for Joan Allen who draws there one of his best performances. With Jennifer Jason Leigh, they form a beautiful trio which places the theme of sorority at the heart of the plot.
At the helm of this trip, Pablo Larraín sublimates this adaptation with an inventive staging, which allows itself breathtaking visual sequences while remaining at the service of the characters. “Not only is his vision unique, but he is especially interested in moments of truth.“, specifies Julianne Moore to AlloCine.
To support himself, the director surrounds himself with Clark, a big name in electronic music, who signs a very successful soundtrack, and the famous Franco-Iranian cinematographer Darius Khondji. The latter offers an impressive work on the images and colors of the series. Of a nightmarish beauty, the sequences taking place in the parallel world are particularly striking.
A genius of literature, Stephen King has not always shown the same flamboyance when it comes to transposing his own works on the screen. The serial format of Lisey’s story demonstrates that the author is more comfortable when he has several episodes at his disposal to stretch the development of his story and his characters. While some will blame a few lengths, others will fall under the spell of this scary and fascinating world which is easily distinguished from other current programs.