With summer well and truly over you might be wondering what there is left to binge on going into the fall? That’s where The Sinner comes in.
The Sinner is a USA original and Netflix’s newest and most binge-worthy show and will keep you entertained and in your bed/bath/couch/wherever you watch Netflix for the entirety of its eight episode debut season.
Starring Jessica Biel as Cora Tannetti and Bill Pullman as Detective Harry Ambrose, The Sinner follows the investigation into what triggers Cora’s violent tendencies, the community’s reaction to a horrible event, and detective Ambrose’s balancing act of juggling his own demons with investigating Cora’s motive.
I watched the show in two nights and you’ll do the same. Here’s five reasons why you should drop everything you’re doing and binge The Sinner from start to finish.
1. Jessica Biel delivers an incredible performance
Jessica Biel has been the star of some hit or miss movies in her career but her performance as the emotionally damaged, slightly unhinged, but overall very sympathetic Cora in The Sinner is second to none and may just be the role of her career.
Cora commits a seemingly random – and very startling – act of violence in an incredibly bloody scene but somehow we still find ourselves sympathizing with her.
The audience is constantly kept on its toes by Biel, who goes from a blubbering, imprisoned wife and mother to possessed and mentally unstable before flashing back to her shy and extremely religious past. Biel is basically playing three roles in one show and masters them all.
2. It’s actually really, really scary
I can’t remember the last time I was genuinely frightened by a movie or TV show to the extent that I had to keep watching to avoid laying in a dark and silent room. For the first time in a long time, after watching The Sinner, I was scared.
The Sinner is more thriller than murder mystery with the show’s focus being on figuring out why Cora turns violent – what her trigger is – not so much the violence itself. The show’s creator, Derek Simonds, uses flashbacks to Cora’s past and unstable memories of a mysterious event that send chills down your spine – almost as if you’re rediscovering what happened to Cora while she is.
That, and the sub-story lines of Cora’s husband’s search for his own form of justice while coming to terms with his wife’s past, ensure there’s no respite for the audience.
3. It deals with America’s failing healthcare system
Another reason The Sinner is so binge-worthy is that it deals with very real issues. One of these is America’s failing healthcare system and its stance on mental health. Cora is very obviously mentally and emotionally unstable for reasons that you’ll soon discover, however, her mental health is largely ignored by other characters in the early parts of the show.
Detective Harry Ambrose is the only one to recognize that her violence could be linked to something deeper and more uncontrollable. His struggle to get to the bottom of it, while also unable to convince anyone else of his suspicions, hit close to home as mental health in the United States is often still either stigmatized or brushed off entirely.
4. Real life issues hit home
Similarly, drug use, addiction, and shame-oriented catholicism play a big role in The Sinner and are all deep-rooted issues that the United States is currently struggling with.
Cora’s strict catholic upbringing lies in stark contrast to the casual (and at times harder) drug use around her and, while the show doesn’t directly tackle these issues in the way that it did healthcare and mental health, it presents both in a realistic and believable manner without sugarcoating anything.
Both issues are central to the show’s plot and will resonate with an American audience whose country has been at war with drugs for as long as anyone can remember and is currently struggling with the separation of church and state.
5. The plot keeps you on your toes
With a lot of thriller or crime series you’ll be able to tell what is going to happen or where the story is going before it gets there. Not this time.
A lot of it has to do with the fact that the majority of the story is told through Cora’s eyes and makes use of her unstable memory. Her repressed memories make her an untrustworthy storyteller and make for a cloudy understanding of what is real and what isn’t.
Even the parts that are told through Detective Ambrose are murky, as he’s going off of what Cora has told him and is still only putting together the pieces – a bit like the audience.
Combined with twists and turns that are expertly disguised, telling the story through unreliable storytellers makes for unpredictable viewing.
- Main & Featured Images: USA Network
- In-Post Images: USA Network