Stranger than fiction: ‘The Act’ review

Hulu’s latest release “The Act” is a true crime limited series that captures the lives of Dee Dee and Gypsy Blanchard, a mother-daughter duo with a story stranger than fiction. 

Over the eight episode series the story bounces around a seven year timeline, starting with Dee Dee and Gypsy moving into a house in rural Missouri and ending with Dee Dee’s corpse discovered in the bedroom of that same house and Gypsy going missing. 

How the series got from point A to point B is what the “The Act” is all about. The progression and dedication of the characters throughout the series brings this true story to life again.

Everything is not what it seems when it becomes clear to the viewers that Dee Dee is suffering from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, which is a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior often by seeking medical help for exaggerated or made up symptoms. 

As the story progresses, Dee Dee continues to manipulate, and Gypsy starts to catch on to her mother’s lies.

The portrayal of the characters has been the best part of capturing this true crime story. Patricia Arquette plays Dee Dee, Arquette is known for her roles as dark characters which is why she portrays Dee Dee so perfectly. 

She transformed into Dee Dee by gaining lots of weight for the role. Dee Dee is the villain of the story and her true colors are increasingly exposed as the story progresses. 

“The more Dee Dee becomes a wicked witch, ‘The Act’ progresses into something resembling horror,” stated Critic at Large for Vox Todd VanDerWerff. “The realest parts of the story are actually among the most terrifying and there are many scenes that will cause intended discomfort for those with medical insecurities, whether it’s the graphic depictions of feeding tube procedure or the highly amplified sound effect from a dentist’s drill.”

Joey King completely transforms and dedicates herself to the role of Gypsy Blanchard.

 King has recently been seen in movies like “The Kissing Booth,” playing romantic leads and good girls, but in her role as Gypsy, King shaves her head, wears several sets of fake teeth, and changes her voice to match the high pitch, childish tone of Gypsy.

 “It’s crazy though because with a role like Gypsy, no matter how much prep you do, no matter how much research you do, no matter how much script work you do, nothing will prepare you,” King told E news. “Along with shaving my head, putting in the fake teeth, I wear several stages of fake teeth throughout the entire series, and being in the wheelchair. Being in Gypsy’s clothing, all of it.” 

The most impressive part of King’s role as Gypsy is the progression of the character. Throughout the seven years Gypsy grows up, she realizes she is much older than the age her mother tells her she is and you can see her go from a little girl to a woman.

“Big change between the first episode and the eighth episode — there is a big difference because the story takes place over seven years and her voice dropped a little bit. I wanted people to see, ‘Hey it’s a big passage of time. She did grow up a little bit,’” stated King to E! News.