The Act: A Mother Abuse Drama Based On A True Story

The Act: A Mother Abuse Drama Based On A True Story
The Act: A Mother Abuse Drama Based On A True Story
Video: The Act: A Mother Abuse Drama Based On A True Story
Video: The Act: Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original 2023, February
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TEXT: Dina Klyuchareva, author of the telegram channel One Oscar For Leo

Genre true-krime (fictional detective stories based on real events) are now at their peak. Over the past year, more than a dozen fiction and documentary stories have been released, which are being sorted out by high-profile crimes. The murder of Dee Dee Blanchard - a seemingly harmless woman who devoted her life to diligently caring for her seriously ill daughter Gypsy Rose - happened in the summer of 2015 and shocked America. The shock doubled when the next day it was discovered that Gypsy was involved in the murder of her mother. We tell you about this story and a new series based on it with Patricia Arquette and Joey King.

In 2008, independent mother Dee Dee (Claudine) Blanchard and her seriously ill daughter Gypsy Rose moved from their home in Louisiana destroyed by Hurricane Katrina to a new home in Springfield, Missouri. The Blanchards were sponsored and sponsored by many charitable foundations: a gingerbread pink house with a white ramp built for them by Habitat for Humanity International, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation provided them with a wheelchair van and tickets to Disneyland.

Dee Dee and Gypsy quickly became friends with their neighbors: everyone sympathized with this pretty single woman in floral dresses and her unhappy daughter, who had escaped from a cruel grandfather and father suffering from drug and alcohol addictions. According to her mother, fifteen-year-old talkative and funny Gypsy possessed the intelligence of a seven-year-old child and an impressive bouquet of diagnoses: epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, anemia, sleep apnea, asthma, allergies, heart murmur, paralysis of the lower extremities, leukemia, "developmental delay" and hearing impairment and vision. Local TV channels and newspapers often made stories about them, praising the heroism of the mother and the cheerfulness of the daughter.

Gypsy underwent several operations on her eyes and ears, and removal of her salivary glands. She ate through a gastrostomy tube in her stomach and took dozens of drugs - many of which caused the symptoms of Gypsy's illnesses, and the first aid kit in the Blanchard house looked more like a pharmaceutical warehouse. For greater persuasiveness, Dee Dee shaved Gypsy baldly - under the pretext "everything will fall out anyway, so at least it will look neat."

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Between 2008 and 2015, Dee Dee brought her daughter to doctors for checkups more than a hundred times, but only once a neurologist noticed a discrepancy between the mother's testimony and her daughter's real symptoms: Gypsy's muscles retained their volume and did not atrophy at all despite the diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. The doctor expressed suspicion of delegated Munchausen syndrome in the elder Blanchard, but did not give further course to the case. With this syndrome, a person fakes or provokes the appearance of symptoms of serious illnesses in their loved ones in order to receive emotional satisfaction in the form of sympathy, gratitude for their care and dedication. Most often, mothers with delegated Munchausen's syndrome direct "care" to their children, less often it happens to their spouses. Because the syndrome is difficult to distinguish from common fraud, it is rarely diagnosed.

She no longer returned to the doctors who aroused Dee-Dee's suspicions and looked for new specialists, and Gypsy's anamnesis changed depending on the profile of the doctor: she told cardiologists that all the grandfathers in the family had died of heart attacks, and neurologists - about bad heredity on the part of her father. … In response to doctors' requests to show the data of previous studies and analyzes, Gypsy Dee Dee shook her head in distress and reported that all of them (including the birth certificate) disappeared in a flood in an old house.

On June 14, 2015, Dee Dee's Facebook page suddenly posted "This bitch is dead!", And a few hours later added the comment "I killed her and then raped her daughter." The neighbors got alarmed and called the police, who found Dee Dee stabbed to death in her own bed. Gypsy disappeared, although all the wheelchairs remained at home - Springfield was paralyzed with horror for the fate of a defenseless girl. However, it did not last long: the neighbor's daughter, opposite, remembered that Gypsy had secretly told her about a secret boyfriend from the Internet. The police quickly tracked down his IP address and found Nick Godijon at home in Wisconsin - and with him unharmed Gypsy, standing firmly on her own feet and talking like any other adult.

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It turned out that their online romance lasted almost a year and consisted mainly of role-playing games with sexual connotations. It was Gypsy who persuaded Nick to get rid of her mother, bought him a bus ticket to Springfield, opened the door at night and handed him the murder weapon. At the trial, both pleaded guilty. Both were facing the death penalty, but Gypsy was sentenced to ten years in prison with the right to parole after eight and a half years, Godijon was given a life sentence. In the course of the investigation, it turned out that Gypsy's father, who turned out to be not a drug addict at all, but an exemplary family man, kept in touch with Dee Dee all these years and sent her money to support his daughter. It was impossible to posthumously diagnose Dee Dee with delegated Munchausen syndrome, but the collected evidence pointed to it.

Dee Dee Blanchard in "The Act" stars as Patricia Arquette, the star of another recent true masterpiece, "Dannemora's Prison Break," for which she won a Golden Globe. Arquette was interested in the detective genre and stories about delegated Munchausen syndrome long before filming, but she first heard about the murder of Dee Dee when she received the script. “My kids were against it,” says the actress. “They saw the HBO documentary on the Blanchards, Dead Mommy, and told me not to take on the role of such a creepy character. I had to tell them: 'Sorry guys, but I am, let me remind you, an actress, and this is just a role.'

Her on-screen daughter is played by the young but experienced Joey King. She has been filming since the age of four, in recent years in more and more notable projects: the TV series Fargo, the horror film Slenderman and the teen hit Booth of Kisses. After "The Act", calling King a rising star will no longer turn her tongue: she makes a worthy acting duet with Arquette and plunges headlong into the psychologically difficult role of a girl who lives in captivity with her own mother.

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Before filming, Joey revisited the HBO documentary and Blanchard's home shoots several times and accurately copied the facial expressions, gestures and feigned thin voice of Gypsy with which she communicated with others. “Her tone is sweet and childish when in public, and changes to a completely different tone when she’s alone with her mother,” King says. "She is a manipulator, raised by a manipulator, and I tried to convey that." For the role, the actress shaved her head baldly, which became a source of endless embarrassment: people approached her with sympathetic wishes for good luck, believing that she was seriously ill, and one guy even got out of her on the plane. “I saw him texting his friends on his phone: 'She seems to have cancer and she is coughing. Wouldn't get infected! “What a denseness,” King says indignantly.

The showrunners of the project were producer Nick Antoska (TV series "Hannibal") and journalist Michelle Dean, who wrote in 2016 a detailed and detailed profile of the history of the Blanchards for BuzzFeed, which formed the basis of both film adaptations: documentary and serial. The script for the series was worked by a team of experienced writers (mostly women, emphasizes in an interview with Dean), who worked on such projects as "Mad Men", "Westworld" and "Better Call Saul." According to Dean, turning a personal story of real, still living people into a movie was like walking on very thin ice. Therefore, the authors did not reconstruct the events in detail and find out who is right and who is wrong, but focused on the complex codependent relationship between mother and daughter.Dee Dee in the show is a woman who really wanted to be a good mother, and Gypsy is a girl who just wanted to be the most ordinary teenager: walking, drinking Coke, watching makeup lessons, making friends and falling in love.

Some people compare "The Act" with "Sharp Objects": here and there the main negative figure turns out to be an obsessed domineering mother. But if “Sharp Objects” is a drug of instant action and everything inside shrinks from the feeling of hopelessness from the very first frames, then “The Act” is a remedy with a cumulative effect. The serial Dee Dee Blanchard is not just a monstrous villainous mother (whom Arquette would also be quite capable of playing), but a multidimensional character that unfolds gradually: a gentle and caring mom who really loves her child, and at the same time, calculating and a fearful fraudster who easily abuses her daughter for her own benefit.

On-screen Gypsy is a figure of no less volume: she does not want to upset her mother and humbly feigns illness, but having met a neighbor of the same age and seeing how much she is missing, she begins to take an interest in her body and life outside the house. She goes from an isolated victim of parental abuse to a desperate teenager, ready to kill in order to regain control over her own life. The clash of tight control and emerging teenage sexuality is sometimes overwhelming - and The Act proves it convincingly.

PHOTOS: Hulu

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