Jane Campion's tale of a pregnant 12-year-old gone missing in a town full of secrets provides a raw look at complicated and often frustrating sexism and gender dynamics, and the never-ending ramifications of unexamined sexual assault. It's riveting TV. Like, if you don't watch the whole 7-part miniseries in under two sittings, I don't know what's wrong with you. Quit your job if you must.
Set against the menacing beauty of a tiny New Zealand mountain enclave, it stars Elizabeth Moss as Robin Griffin, a specialist detective from Sydney who returns home to spend time with her dying mother. While there, she's called to help out on the local case of Tui, a mysteriously pregnant 12-year-old. What happens next will change the town forever — and makes for ridiculously addictive television.
The show is pure Campion — she co-wrote and co-directed the whole thing — and she's at her best — digging into a dreamy landscape to find what's festering beneath. Usually, that involves examining situations through a feminist lens, and the results — while not always stellar — are consistently thought-provoking.
The show originally aired on the Sundance Channel in March, but it's now streaming on Netflix. Go watch it. (But be warned — if you start it this evening, you'll probably be up all night.)