Bonding Amidst Betrayal: a Fresh Take on a Family Suspense
TV LIMITED SERIES REVIEW
The Last Thing He Told Me
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 7 x 40m episodes
Director(s): Olivia Newman, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, Lila Neugebauer
Executive Producer(s): Laura Dave, Josh Singer, Reese Witherspoon, Lauren Neustadter, Olivia Newman, Merri Howard
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Angourie Rice, Aisha Tyler, Augusto Aguilera, Geoff Stults, John Harlan Kim
Where To Watch: available to stream on Apple TV+ April 14, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: In the captivating limited series THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME, we're drawn into the journey between Hannah (Jennifer Garner) as she battles to form a bond with her teenage stepdaughter, Bailey (Angourie Rice), all while dealing with the perplexing mystery of her husband's sudden disappearance. Adapted from a best-selling novel, this creative work is the brainchild of Laura Dave (author) and Josh Singer.
THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME showcases Garner's continuation of her ability to embody characters. This role still felt like Jennifer Garner playing a character, but she manages to pull you in so much that you accept it. Although Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's role is mainly confined to flashbacks, Augusto Aguilera leaves a lasting impression, albeit a bit stereotypical. Rice, playing Bailey, is the glue that holds this entire series together, giving a performance that lets you feel genuine emotion on screen.
Regrettably, the series stumbles in some of its more critical moments. It devotes considerable effort to building a menacing antagonist only to conclude without that genuine sense of “completion,” leaving viewers longing for a more satisfying resolution.
The emotional anchor of the series is the relationship between Hannah and Bailey. Garner and Rice deliver remarkable performances, bouncing off each other and battling a cleverly structured narrative filled with twists and turns. Rice is quickly becoming a rising star, and the two were fantastic together. THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME highlights Garner's versatile acting skills and reminds us that she can excel in roles beyond her familiar family-friendly territory. Sometimes I forget just how influential Garner can be in character, she’s been pretty consistent throughout her career, but it's nice to see her not have to carry all the weight.
I saw some other reviews mentioning the backdrop of the coastal town. While it was pretty and, at times, relaxing, it took away some of the punch in certain moments. There’s something about living in an area like that that makes the viewers not care about their issues quite so much.
In conclusion, THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME has the potential to be a captivating and emotionally charged series, with the solid performances of Garner, Rice, and even the supporting cast. I would have liked to have seen a few more risks taken, and it could have propelled a genuinely great series to one that was nearly perfect.
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[photo courtesy of APPLE TV+]