Faith and rationality are at stake in “The Essex Serpent”, this Friday on Apple tv+. A cold and calm series without being devoid of a beautiful subtlety.
Recently widowed, Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) regains a freedom that has been largely damaged by her unhappy and violent marriage. Determined to make up for lost time, she makes the decision to leave for Essex as soon as rumors reach him announcing the presence of a legendary serpent and assassin. An amateur but passionate naturalist, Cora will find in Essex the warmth of new relationships. With the pastor of the small town in which she landed (Tom Hiddleston), she strives to disentangle the true from the false, the rational of beliefthe science of fear.
“The Essex Serpent”, however, offers an escapade skilfully led by its leading duo, and carried by a magnificent aesthetic.
With its severe and dignified landscapes, and a heavy late 19th century atmosphere, “The Essex Serpent” find an interesting balance by counterbalancing a form of gravity and subtle interactions, imbued with emotion, between the characters who inhabit it. If the secondary cast is effective, most of the chemistry is exchanged between Claire Danes and Tom Hiddlestonat the heart of the plot which itself passes in the background.
Getting bogged down in its gravity a few times, and without a strong enough story to sustain the series, “The Essex Serpent” however offers an escapade skilfully led by its leading duo, and carried by a magnificent aesthetic.
Anna Symon and Clio Barnard
With Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston
Made in USA 2022
Note from L’Echo:
The Essex Serpent — Official Trailer | AppleTV+