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‘Lisey’s Story’ is Stephen King’s most star-studded adaptation since ‘the Shining’
Apple TV + Directed by Pablo Larraín (Jackie, the next Spencer), produced by JJ Abrams, shot by Darius Khondji, starring Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Joan Allen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dane DeHaan and Michael Pitt, and written by the author himself, Lisey’s Story can – aside from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining – boast the most illustrious pedigree of all Stephen King adaptations. Bringing in a plethora of talent makes sense for this eight-episode Apple TV + series (premiering June 4), given that it’s all under the sun. Fantasy worlds, parental abuse, ghosts, torture, murder, scavenger hunt games, monsters, sisters, trauma, mental hospitals, self-harm, flashbacks, possession, psycho killers, and family and marital issues involving love, trust, anguish, jealousy, and betrayal are all part of this swirling and vivid package. There are even overt nods to Misery and The Shining to a good extent, along with incessant conversation, fictitious terms, supernatural rules, and recurring motifs. source material, which King remixed in mostly minor ways (a timeline flip here, a corner cut there), with the exception of his villainous Jim Dooley (DeHaan), who went from being a Southern fried one-dimensional sadist. to a more fully trained – though still derivative – Annie Wilkes-style obsessive literature fan Stephen King on Scary Stalkers, Being “ Canceled ” by JK Rowling and Navigating TraumaDooley is an antagonist set on the late Scott Landon (Owen), a writer of tomes that made him a national celebrity filled with die-hard acolytes whom he condescendingly referred to as “deep space cowboys.” At the start of this saga, Scott is dead, although his presence is nonetheless strongly felt thanks to the memories of his widow Lisey (Moore), whom Scott usually referred to as “babyluv” and who, two years after her death, now faces the prospect. of having to clean up her backyard office, where crates of scribbles and unfinished projects lie dormant, begging to be rediscovered.Lisey is in mourning, as well as in denial of the bizarre events that took place during her marriage with Scott. These buried secrets come to the surface once University professor Dashmiel (Ron Cephas Jones) shows up at his doorstep asking him to hand over the rest of Scott’s production, as audiences deserve it and she, as simple bedmate, does not have the right to keep it to herself. When Lisey balks, he throws the misogynist Dooley at her, who turns out to be quite simply the most dangerous of many threats to her well-being. As Dooley makes increasingly intimidating demands, Lisey is forced to grapple with her sisters Amanda (Allen), who once again struggles with lifelong cutting compulsions that put her in a catatonic state, and Darla (Leigh), who is angry with Lisey for her. wealth and good fortune. These calamities bring back Lisey’s memories in waves and lead her to discover that Scott left behind some kind of treasure hunt beyond the grave (like the ones his brother did for him as a child) which he calls “a bool,” with a mysterious prize that awaits at the end. Lisey’s story is an assortment of relationships and conflicts – many of which echo King’s earlier work – and it only gets more complex than ‘once Lisey begins to let her mind wander over the past incidents that she barely had to suppress. It turns out that Scott grew up with an unstable father (Pitt) who believed they were all cursed by a demonic evil known as “The Bad” (a term that is an improvement on the book’s “bad-gunky”), which soon took its hold on Scott’s brother. Scott’s heartbreaking adolescence is intimately linked to his young adulthood, when he demonstrated to Lisey that he had the ability to travel to an alternate universe which he nicknamed “Booya Moon” where a giant blood moon hangs in the air, a towering creature known as “The Lost Boy” roams the forest, and a glittering pool offers visitors healing, enchantment and inspiration (because it is the true pool of creativity in which all artists drink). Lisey goes there too, at multiple points in a story that has been shot and edited to dreamily blend past and present, creating harmonious parallels across space and time in both large and small ways. . aforementioned phrases or the crucial shovel and lighthouse model in Lisey’s possession, and Larraín and Khondji bring their winding and disorienting drama to life with hazy, dark, and shimmering beauty. The mirrors, glass, reflective water, and figures framed in distant doors all speak to this tale’s transitional heart, as do the doubles that consistently appear throughout its eight episodes. Another director’s sagas about women in anguish crisis, Lisey’s Story looks and, thanks to Clark’s soundtrack of unholy noises and sparse strings, sounds gorgeous. Most importantly, it often captures the atmospheric essence of King’s books: that mixture of terror, madness, and bittersweet longing for deceased loved ones, all wrapped up in classic pop and rock songs (in this case, courtesy of an R&B wedding band) and the burning embers of a fall sunset in Maine. At its best, it evokes a prototypical King-ien sense of nostalgia for what has been lost, while also acknowledging that nothing is ever really gone – figuratively and, at least for brief moments in this magical fable, literally. . the performances are, for the most part, equally excellent: the very reliable Moore captures Lisey’s determination, ferocity, fear and grief; DeHaan brings a frightening intense sociopathy to Dooley; Pitt goes well on top as Scott’s perpetually sweat-soaked background daddy; and Owen radiates heat and is injured as a scarred Scott. However, like the debates themselves, the cast is undermined by a surplus of madness. As with his novel, King contains this very personal tale filled with a myriad of real and fantasy world elements and interests (including parricide and the power of storytelling), but the bottom line is that more is less. Just as Moore’s Lisey exhibits various traits and yet never evolves into a fully distinctive human being, the plot itself is overflowing with threads, themes, and issues and yet ends up talking about nothing except perhaps from Lisey’s quest to take over her female agency. , and to face and let go of grief – a primary concern that holds true throughout, but is just one of the myriad things King aims to address. That is, Lisey’s story is defined by a disconnect between the splendor of her aesthetic and the professionalism of her main actors and the overloaded and wacky nature of her story. Larraín and company end up venturing into all manner of wild places, some haunting and others awkward, while hitting many notes that will sound familiar to the King’s followers. Everything isn’t cohesive, and his belated, half-hearted apology for practical twists doesn’t help. But it also contains moments of quiet grace, as well as an admirable and thrilling dedication (by esteemed artists) to truly move forward, to a climax featuring a titanic beast of a thousand souls. Best of all, it sparkles, every now and then, with that classic king’s magic, when the emotions, dreams and desires of the past and present collide and intertwine, no matter how much misfortune has been endured or how much has happened. Abuse has been suffered, in this Find out more about The Daily Beast, get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Register now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.