May 29, 2023

Love & Death is the newest mini-series premiering on HBO Max April 28, and we got the chance to watch the whole series ahead of its release. Created by David E. Kelley, the series stars Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery and Jesse Plemons as Alan Gore. Additional cast include Krysten Ritter as Sherry Cleckler, Lily Rabe as Betty Gore, Tom Pelphrey as Don Crowder, and Patrick Fugit as Pat Montgomery.

The true-life crime story follows Candy Montgomery (Elizabeth Olsen), a Texas church-going housewife who feels unseen by her husband Pat (Patrick Fugit.) After a chance encounter at a church volleyball game, Candy becomes enamored with Alan (Jesse Plemons), and the two orchestrate an affair. They set strict rules for their affair, to ensure that they don’t hurt their respective partners, until they eventually end their affair. However, Betty Gore (Lily Rabe) has her suspicions, and ultimately confronts Candy. This confrontation leads to the brutal axe murder of Betty.

Candy is able to ward off suspicion for a short time but is ultimately tied to the crime. Candy’s lawyer Don Crowder (Tom Pelphrey) doesn’t shy away from the fact that Candy murdered Betty, however, their stance is that it was self-defense.

The series is a slow burn, and I think it could have been shortened one or two episodes, especially, the first half of the show. However, it is interesting enough, especially if you aren’t familiar with the real-life case. Elizabeth Olsen especially shines in the show, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she is nominated for an Emmy, considering the depth and range she portrayed as Candy. I do wish the show would’ve gone more in depth with Candy’s psyche, which is briefly presented.

The acting is what really pulls through with this series. Lily Rabe is always great, as are Krysten Ritter and Jesse Plemons. I also especially enjoyed Tom Pelphrey’s portrayal of Don Crowder as an arrogant yet charismatic lawyer.

We give Love & Death a 3.5/5 for its stellar acting and detailed portrayal of this true-crime story.

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