HBO series with Frances McDormand

At this point in the film, it is very difficult not to praise the superb career of Frances McDormand. Some of the characters played by the actress are part of film history (such as Inspector Gunderson in Fargo, for example). On this occasion, we bring you the review of the HBO series Olive Kitteridge, which focuses on the psychological problems of the human being and the existing taboo when it comes to treating them.


Olive (Frances McDormand) lives a smooth, nondescript life in the Bay of Maine. Everything seems perfect or, at least, that is what it is intended to show, especially her husband (Richard Jenkins). Deep down, as in all families, there are moments of happiness and ecstasy, but also hard and sad moments. Throughout four chapters, we will be able to contemplate some moments in the life of Olive and yours.

Frances McDormand

Review of HBO’s Olive Kitteridge series

Seven years have passed since the premiere of this HBO miniseries, but, after the blazing success of Nomadland and, therefore, of its protagonist, Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge you are living a second youth or a revival. It is not for less. The miniseries is an interesting argument about the need to break all stigma around mental illness, a taboo subject in Western society.

Mental health in the spotlight

But why do we keep forgetting that our society has to try once (to get serious) about mental illness? Perhaps, because we still think that it is something temporary: “This will have happened to me tomorrow.” Or we may be afraid that other people will perceive us as a psychotic being, who has lost all rationality. Or simply, because it does not matter that this issue enters fully into the public debate of society. There are many reasons why it does not focus on this BIG problem (which will surely be exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic). Logically, starting the debate around mental health leads to establishing debates around the Welfare State, the economic security of the entire population, etc. As long as we keep looking the other way without enough guts, everything will remain the same; and the snowball of collective and individual suffering will continue to grow progressively.

Frances McDormand y Richard Jenkins
Frances McDormand y Richard Jenkins

How this topic is dealt with in the series

And why do I mention all this? Basically, because the serie Olive Kitteridge de HBO proposes to establish this debate through such harmful passivity. Especially reflected in the Kitteridge family. Olive (Frances McDormand), is the one that comes closest to recognizing in herself that there is a problem in her life; however, he disguises everything with sarcasm and crudeness, consequently hurting the people around him. Henry (Richard Jenkins) is the opposite pole, since every problem seeks to see its positive side, creating a kind of personal bubble that isolates it or, if you prefer, that protects it from a life that tirelessly tries to improve. And finally, Christopher (John Gallagher Jr.), who must deal with the two very opposite attitudes of his parents, generating a situation of constant and belligerent suffocation towards them (for one reason or another).

Despite all this, no member of the family seeks help when it comes to solving these emotional and personal problems. After all, they themselves normalize a situation, which (theoretically) is far from being normal; while, in the (rare) moments that this potential solution appears, fear takes hold of them, re-entering them at the starting point. A vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of.

Frances McDormand leads the cast

On the other hand, and changing the third, I would like to highlight the wonderful casting selection of the serie Olive Kitteridge de HBO. Frances McDormand (What to say!) Is superb. If the actress’s career has been characterized by something, it is by brilliantly selecting her roles. Female characters that, unfortunately, are scarce (a situation that I think is mitigating, fortunately), and that it is a pleasure to see them on screen. McDormand He takes out all the bad slime that he has inside to leave us a surly character, tough, but with a point of humor a bit black that is a pleasure to witness.

What’s more, Richard Jenkins It is tremendous, managing to transmit passion and sorrow for seeing how it does not become happy at all (or show an imposed happiness). Really, as a viewer, you wish everything had gone better for him. And finally, Bill Murray, an actor for whom I have a weakness and for whom I constantly wonder why he has not lavished himself more on drama, which I think causes his talent to be undervalued (a similar case happens to Adam Sandler, to give another example that quickly comes to mind).

The direction of the series

Regarding the direction, Lisa Cholodenko get in the serie Olive Kitteridge de HBO something important but that may never show off: to achieve a naturalistic staging. It is true that, at very specific and justified moments, said staging suffers some digressions towards a more dreamlike or subjective terrain; but in general lines, this staging aims to emphasize the nondescript. After all, any member of the Kitteridge family can be one of us. Easily. In some way, it depersonalizes the experiences to emphasize that mental illness is something that concerns us all as a society.

Bill Murray
Bill Murray

Final opinion of HBO’s Olive Kitteridge series

In short, the serie Olive Kitteridge de HBO It is a perfect proposal to see throughout a weekend or an entire afternoon as a marathon. But in addition, it is ideal to begin to educate ourselves and empathize around mental illnesses. To see them as something to be solved and not as a passing and inconsequential event. From the moment we begin to understand that these ailments are no joke, we will, in turn, begin to be a little better, as a society.

Technical Sheet and Release Date

Original title: Olive Kitteridge
Gender: Drama, Mental illness
Official Site: HBO’s Olive Kitteridge Series
Country: USA
Idiom: English
Release date in Spain: 2014 and HBO
Producer: HBO, Playtone, As Is.
Distributor: HBO
Duration: 4 chapters (approx. 60 min. Each)
Year: 2014
Age rating: Not recommended for children under 12 years

Artistic file

Address: Lisa Cholodenko
Script: Jane Anderson. Novela:Elisabeth Strout
Song: Carter Burwell
Photography: Frederick Elmes
Distribution: Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Bill Murray, Zoe Kazan, Rosemarie Dewitt, Brady Corbet, Audrey Marie Anderson, Ann Dowd, Donna Mitchell, Peter Mullan, Jesse Plemons, Cory Michael Smith, Martha Wainwright, Devin Druid


HBO series Olive Kitteridge poster
HBO series Olive Kitteridge poster



The Olive Kitteridge series deals with a topic as necessary as mental illness and features extraordinary performances.


The realistic way to deal with mental illness.

The cast is superb.

The staging so careful and consistent with the plot itself.


There is nothing that is negative to the point of highlighting it here.