The busiest woman in Hollywood? Award-winning author Margaret Atwood. First, you binged Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, and now, it’s time to remember your sister-in-law’s dad’s Netflix password to watch Alias Grace, a miniseries based on Atwood’s 1996 novel of the same name.
While The Handmaid’s Tale may feel utterly relevant and real at times, Alias Grace was actually inspired by a real Canadian crime: the 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. James McDermott and Grace Marks, servants in the household, were convicted of the crime.
Atwood’s fictionalized version centers around the “murderess” Marks’s retelling of her story to a doctor who’s trying to grasp her guilt or innocence. While the crime may seem straightforward, the miniseries (written by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron) does an incredible job of quilting together themes of patriarchy, misogyny, immigrant life, classism, trauma and abuse that make Grace Marks and her story a bit more complex than meets the eye. (Let’s just say Offred would probably see a bit of herself in Grace.)
Watching Grace (played by Sarah Gadon) is like drinking tea laced with arsenic: There’s something subtly off below the surface, but you’ll drink the whole damn cup anyway.