#FIRSTLOOK: “LISEY’S STORY”
By Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
There are plenty of Novels that get adapted into Features or Miniseries and down the road the author of the original text comes out against the final Hollywoodized version of their product. Stephen King is rather famous for disliking adaptations of his own work, even when the Hollywoodization is regarded as a classic, King still opposes. When watching some of the more recent King adaptations, there is usually a lot to be desired still, however with Apple TV+’s Lisey’s Story there is very little more to desire after the eight episodes. This is in part due to the fact that King adapted his own work and legendary Director Pablo Larrain directed the Series, but it hits the bullseye precisely.
Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore) lost her literary genius husband, Scott (Clive Owen) and decided to try and move on with her life and leave his unpublished works as such. Unfortunately for Lisey, a stalker Jim Dooley (Dane DeHaan) cannot accept that Scott’s work will go unpublished and starts to torment and stalk Lisey. As this progresses, it gets more intense and terrifying for Lisey as she is a caregiver for her sister, Amanda (Joan Allen), who needs around the care attention for her mental health. Lisey is helped by her other sister, Darla (Jennifer Jason Leigh) with Amanda but has her own griefs and traumas to process as well.
What makes Lisey’s Story so captivating is the story. King brilliantly interweaves flashbacks of Lisey remembering her romance with Scott, the modern day and supernatural occurrences. The way the story comes together is seamless, full of suspense, awe, and thrills. Pablo Larrain also masterfully directs this rich tapestry of words with such ease and brilliance that audiences will be captivated throughout the Series. The entire Show is engulfed in beautiful storytelling, visuals and direction that is sensational.
With any strong direction and storytelling only so much can be accomplished without a powerhouse Cast, and thankfully for Lisey’s Story everyone brings their A-Game. Moore astounds as Lisey, trying to process her PTSD of losing her husband, while being tormented by her stalker and flashbacks she so desperately tried to move on from. Clive Owen playing Scott, trying to help Lisey through his puzzle in helping her process her grief is nothing shy of captivating. However it is Dane DeHaan who gives a career best performance, as his performance is chilling, haunting, and terrifying. He embodies the darkness of King excellently and does not shy away from becoming the monster he was written out to be.
When there is a hauntingly brilliant Script, beautiful direction, and superb acting the final product is nothing short of fantastic. Lisey’s Story may start off with a lot of supernatural elements begging the audience to suspend belief briefly, but the payout and deliverance of the final product is more than worth the time. Sheer ingenuity and execution makes Lisey’s Story another phenomenal entry into the Apple TV+ catalogue and an adaptation King himself can approve of Lisey’s Story streams on Apple TV+ now.