Lessons in Chemistry | Review by: Gal Balaban

Apple TV's newest hit series focuses on Elizabeth Zott (Brie Larson), a brilliant chemist with huge aspirations in a male-dominated field in the 1960s. She soon finds her dreams of making an impact coming true in unexpected ways when she's asked to host a television cooking show to educate housewives about scientific topics.

Lessons in Chemistry is an adaptation of the acclaimed and celebrated book from last year that beautifully captures the soul of its source material but also builds on it. Larson makes herself suddenly feel inseparable from a character that originated before the series, giving a simply tremendous performance through a profound journey of personal change from the perspective of a young woman whose attitude and ambitions seem too big for the world that's bent on holding her own. Larson wonderfully captures that larger persona of Zott's in the beginning, but also wonderfully shows her understanding of love, loss, responsibility, and success change as she advances in the series.

Lewis Pullman also gives an excellent performance as Calvin Evans, another brilliant chemist who has both a vain and warm nature to him that Pullman depicts so well. Though the series mostly sticks very closely to the novel, the character of Harriet Sloane is greatly expanded on in not only her almost familial bond with Elizabeth, but into a character with a journey of her own, and Aja Naomi King is great. Loads of great supporting players in key roles, including Rainn Wilson, Marc Evan Jackson, Kevin Sussman, Beau Bridges, and Rosemarie DeWitt, round out a pitch-perfect cast.

This 8-episode drama series doesn't seem able to slow down and continues to interest its audience whether with its increasing plot developments or simply its atmosphere building. Though the final episode has its share of heavy-handed moments, the ending feels incredibly true to the spirit of the show, and that of its magnificent leading character. The production value and direction accommodate the powerful script into an enjoyable and poignant series with an unforgettable turn from Brie Larson.

Rating: 4/5

Review by: Gal Balaban

#appletv #brielarson 

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