‘The Dropout’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

When we study history and look at the idealists that bring forth something new, they genuinely believe in their idea at first. And many of them lose themselves in greed instead of their original idea. What was so interesting about Elizabeth Holmes’ story is the fact that she just kept pushing to prove everyone wrong and that is what cost her, her credibility as a scientist. This series shows the tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) developed a healthcare technology that put millions of patients at risk and she managed to lose everything in the blink of an eye.

The one thing that impressed me the most about this series was the pacing of each episode. There are only seven episodes and it feels like each hour is packed with so much information and drama. The series begins with the deposition as they asked Holmes important questions about her time at Stanford, prior to dropping out. Then there’s a flashback showing how eager of a student she was and how meeting one person, Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews) changed her perspective on how to move in this business. The editing for the deposition and the flashbacks became inconsistent, as they got lost in the actual story, but that’s just a minor issue.

While watching the series, I also gained a new appreciation for Amanda Seyfried as an actor because she completely lost herself in this role. As each episode went on, Seyfried fully formed into Holmes and it was interesting to watch. There are moments when Seyfried is speaking to herself in the mirror and dropping her voice to seem more authoritative, which would be empowered on a surface level, but it was just questionable because of what Holmes was doing. If you don’t know her story, then this will be an eye-opening experience to see how poorly the healthcare system works in America. Greed in pharmaceuticals will be the death of so many and it’s so clear to see why people dropout of college with a simple idea.

The Dropout is a slow burn series with steady pacing that will keep you glued to the screen. Seyfried is incredible in this role and she will constantly surprise you with how deep she goes to embody Holmes. The supporting cast is strong and towards the second half of the series, there are many moving parts that take spiralling out of control to a new level. What starts out as a simple, helpful idea, turns into a million-dollar idea, with no concrete project that works. You can pour money into anything and have it fabricated it; thus presenting that money doesn’t truly exist and it’s just based on how well you manage it.

‘The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

Before you sit and binge-watch this limited series in one sitting, make sure to have a glass (or a bottle) of wine ready to go. It just fits in with the story that unfolds in The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window or the shorter version The Woman in the House. This limited series explores grief, big life changes, and mental health through a well-thought-out murder mystery that will keep you glued to the screen. It is filled with dark humour, a lot of wine, and is a satirical slant on the psychological thriller. Majority of the time you’re trying to make sense of what is actually happening and then it just shocks you entirely at the end. This will definitely be one of the most enjoyable series to binge-watch on Netflix this year.

We meet heartbroken Anna (Kristen Bell) and every day feels the same to her. She sits with her wine, staring out the window, watching life go by without her. But when a handsome neighbour (Tom Riley) and his adorable daughter (Samsara Yett) move in across the street, Anna starts to see a light at
the end of the tunnel. That is until she witnesses a gruesome murder… Or did she? This series does a great job in keeping the audience guessing whom the killer is throughout the entire run. Everyone can be a suspect, and even when things get resolved, something else comes in and throws everything out the window. Bell gives a great performance that has you connect with her on an emotional level and she brings you into Anna’s little bubble.

Why this show works is because the episodes are half-hour long and each episode ends on a cliffhanger. We want to see what Anna does next and if the handsome stranger across the street is actually someone she can trust. It’s the definition of a Friday night binge after winding down from a long workweek. Sure, it is satirical but when the show deals with grief, it really grounds the story. You have the over-the-top murder mystery running simultaneously as a woman dealing with a massive loss and trying to find the courage to live life to the fullest again. The series is fairly balanced and never loses its audience once. It flowed extremely well and it filled the eight episodes nicely.

The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is a great binge and it’s really fun to sit through. It’s one of those series that will have you questioning everything with the lead character and have you talking to the screen. It does get a bit hectic towards the second half of the series, so if you’re not a fan of seeing bloody murders, this is your warning. The show has everything that you could want from a murder mystery, especially one surrounding a mom. Let’s face it, we all love to people watch but this show takes things to a whole other level. So make sure to grab that bottle of wine, wrap yourself up in a blanket this weekend and enjoy this fun series from start to finish.

‘The Great’ Review


By: Amanda Guarragi 

The Great is a series, that is based on the play created by Tony McNamara, which focuses on the history of Russian Emperor Peter III and the fearless Catherine the Great. It is a satirical, comedic drama that follows Catherine’s (Elle Fanning) journey as an outsider, as she navigates her way to solidifying her position as a ruler. It is a fictionalized series, that details Catherine’s early twenties and her plot to kill her deranged and sadistic husband. The Great on Hulu is completely unhinged, daring and humorous because of how exaggerated their behaviour is.

It is a series that is so bold with its storytelling because of how honest and vulgar the dialogue is, especially when Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) is speaking. It is a strong piece on the Catherinian  Era that really has not been done before. It is incredibly entertaining, charming and does not shy away from the possibility, that people in that era, would have been just as heinous in their personal lives. It is eye opening because it is believable that the murder, torture and poor treatment of women in the Russian Kingdom, under Emperor Peter III’s rule, would have been that brutal.

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Courtesy of Hulu (left) Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning 

The character development for Peter and Catherine, shift immensely from the beginning of the series and it is almost as if they began to pull traits from each other. At the start, Catherine is this love struck, naive, young woman, who is pulled into the authoritative, violent hands of Emperor Peter III. She was taught that love conquers all and that her kind heart will serve her well in this life. She had this romanticized perception of the palace life, until Peter broke her innocence. Catherine’s loss of innocence was probably the most moving aspect about this series because she had to quickly adapt to the situations unfolding around her.

Peter, on the other hand, did not care about anyone else but himself and his narcissism got the best of him. He has a gigantic ego and pleases himself in anyway he can. He does not care for his Kingdom, or his subjects and did absolutely nothing to help his people. He would drink, eat, torture and have affairs with whomever he wanted. Catherine took notice of his unbearable behaviour and any romantic feeling, that could have developed between the two of them, seemed impossible. The sex scenes between Catherine and Peter, were cold, rigid and neither of them felt anything, they went through the motions because it had to be done, in order to conceive an heir.

The first half of the series shows Catherine’s crushing realization, that Peter was not a normal human being. In fact, he is one of the most peculiar characters I have seen on a series in a while. He is so complex, in an obscure way and just when you think he falls into some kind of normalcy, he surprises you. Catherine builds up her power and forges a plan to take down Peter, through her network of people that have sided with her and against the Emperor. Catherine slowly develops the same raw, animalistic and daring traits as Peter, but utilizes them against him. She was cunning and knew that in order to take Peter down, she had to feed his ego and in doing so, she became more powerful than he could ever be.

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Courtesy of Hulu (center) Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great

The humour was also quite refreshing and honest and I think that’s why I fell in love with this series. It is definitely unconventional and Nicholas Hoult gave one of my favourite performances of the year as Emperor Peter III, his line delivery and presence on screen really carried the series and made it so entertaining. The script was filled with dirty one liners and ballsy dialogue, that you normally would not hear in a comedy today. Hoult and Elle Fanning had such powerful chemistry, that with every scene they shared their feelings became more palpable and the closer that their characters got to each other, created more playfulness that resulted in a great finale.

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Courtesy of Hulu (left) Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult 

Elle Fanning was a dream as Catherine the Great, she embodied her perfectly and had a fantastic performance alongside Hoult. It was just such a beautiful portrayal because of her journey and her development as a ruler and a woman. She was fearless, ferocious and stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. She perfectly manipulated him with her intelligence, wit and faux naivete that proved she would be the better ruler. The finale was well written and executed so well, that the final shot of Catherine, obviously left me wanting more and thankfully there will be a Season 2.

The Great on Hulu is one of the best series that has come out this year; it is fun, sexy, hilarious and unique, which will leave you wanting more after each episode. The energy from Hoult and Fanning is infectious and their chemistry carries the entire show. The endless cycle of manipulation creates a very entertaining atmosphere for the ensemble and everyone wants to take a jab at Emperor Peter III. It is incredibly binge-worthy, that you will be able to hopefully finish it in one sitting. If you loved this Era of history, then this show is definitely for you!