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A black comedy working many shades of gray, Enlightened is about dark mornings of the soul and the fool's-golden glow of the new convert, and it measures the weight of the world with an eccentric scale.
Dern is fantastic as Amy - you cringe as her histrionics drive people away, and cringe again as she tries to suppress her feelings behind a veneer of New Age peacefulness.
The wonderful new HBO series Enlightened is a heartbreaker/dreammaker.
The character of Amy Jellicoe, an executive ground down to bones and nerve after a mental breakdown, could have been a sort of spiritual successor to Tony Soprano. It is a critical text in Dern studies.
The underlying black humor is what keeps Enlightened interesting.
Look, I'm all for darkness and imperfection in characters, but after an hour and a half with this woman, I don't feel the slightest bit invested in her.
I find myself restless to change the channel to something that's actually entertaining or, yes, enlightening.
But the biggest downfall of Enlightened is doesn't know what it wants to be.
This one is really more of a drama with comedic elements than it is an out-and-out laugh-fest.
Audience Reviews for Enlightened: Season 1
Dec 05, 2020A sad, irritating show about a sad, irritating woman who has sad co-workers and a sad ex-husband and who works for a bad company.
Oct 25, 2018The dark humor can be a bit much at times but the show just draws you in. It is ambitious and I think a home run. Too bad HBO didn't think so.
Jan 12, 2018The best! Love this series! Laura Dern is amazing as always and the storyline is compelling, thought provoking, and incredibly authentic.
Jan 07, 2018An examination of the cycles of abuse and self-degradation that are far too easy to get into while living the American dream. Laura Dern plays the role of the modern liberal degenerate to perfection and Mike White continues to show hat he is an incredibly underrated talent when it comes to writing.
Oct 29, 2017Poignantly significant. Laura Dern plays her hopeful AND disappointed role so, so well.
Aug 31, 2017Right? Right? Right? At least 20x per episode.
Jun 23, 2016For a needlessly precise numerical rating: 75/100, or a B+ Enlightened slowly ramps up in quality per episode as the show finds its voice, so the season rating of B+ (I'm a slightly harsh grader) is indicative of overall quality. I expect a higher grade for the highly acclaimed second season, but this is a very good score in my eyes. Anyway, this is a fascinating character study of a purposefully unlikable character, Amy Jellicoe (portrayed by Laura Dern in what might be her very best performance, and that's saying a lot), who claims she has a new worldview after rehab and thusly attempts to do the right thing, mostly out of inflated self-worth and arrogance. The show expands a bit beyond her after the first couple of episodes, but Amy is nearly always at the center. That is, except for "Consider Helen", which might be one of the top contenders for best television episode of 2011, a look at the show if it was from the point of view of Amy's mother, Helen (Diane Ladd, Dern's real-life mother, and nearly as excellent here), a quiet, emotionally removed woman who keeps a stolid routine that masks dark ghosts in her past.
Jan 06, 2016One of the greatest shows ever made, honestly. Laura Dern is brilliant, and Mike White's writing is touching, hilarious, smart, and relatable.
Dec 01, 2015This was excellent. A great display of keeping your chin up in the face of adversity. Amy is tenacity and ruthless but at the same time had integrity, she is not manipulative. She reacted to bad news with such GRACE. Such a a wonderful example for me in my life.
Sep 04, 2014While the show is funny, insightful, and even inspiring at times, there's not much of a plot direction after midway through the season, leaving the few moments of raw characterization too little to elevate the rest. Still very entertaining to watch.