HBO is adapting the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout as a miniseries, and the work has received mainly positive reviews so far after it premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Strout’s 2008 book follows Olive and various other people living in her town of Crosby, Maine. “Moonrise Kingdom” actress Frances McDormand stars as Olive, while Bill Murray, Richard Jenkins of “White House Down,” John Gallagher Jr. of “The Newsroom,” and “What If” actress Zoe Kazan, among others, co-star. The series is directed by Lisa Cholodenko, who also helmed the 2010 movie “The Kids Are All Right."
The miniseries is made up of four episodes and will air on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, according to Time.
Reviews of the adaptation have so far been positive, with Variety critic Peter Debruge writing that McDormand delivers a “remarkably complex portrayal… [it’s] finely crafted, wonderfully cast… With minimal fuss and maximum heart, Richard Jenkins makes the most of [his] substantive role.”
IndieWire writer Jessica Kiang agreed, calling the miniseries “subtle [and] sublime.”
“[It’s] the best film at the Venice Film Festival in terms of providing a great central female role,” she wrote. “The performance in question come from Frances McDormand, who achieves such a perfect, uncompromised synthesis with the title character that it’s difficult to imagine anyone else ever answering to the name. Quite apart from the show itself, which is sensitively directed by Cholodenko, cleverly written by Jane Anderson, beautifully shot by DP Frederick Elmes and immaculately performed across its large ensemble, especially the incredible Richard Jenkins, the meta narrative of seeing one of our greatest working actresses unite with such an unusual and worthwhile role is immensely satisfying all by itself.”
And David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter found “Olive” to be “emotionally satisfying [and] funny-sad.”
“It’s directed with an impeccable balance of sensitivity and humor by Lisa Cholodenko and expertly adapted by Jane Anderson,” he wrote. “The title character provides [McDormand] with a wonderful role that stands among the most complex and memorable of her career... Jenkins’ lovely performance gives her the perfect foil... Unhurried but amply rewarding, Olive Kitteridge is an all-around class act and a credit to everyone concerned.”