Maniac

maniactitlescreenYear: 2018

Synopsis: Accidentally or no, two broken people meet during a mind-bending trial of an experimental drug and therapy designed to solve all psychological problems.

Pros:
• Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, and the rest of the cast move forward in their roles perfectly.
• Wonderfully surrealist, being implemented through both an unreliable narrator and drug induced dreams.
• The attention to detail was incredibly strong, and was perhaps the true glue that held the substructure of the series together.
• The laugh out loud humor was well balanced with the hard drama.
• The significant subplot of the elite using others, including their own family, to get away with sexual harassment or worse strengthened the plot, as well as the search for personal morality and consequences of choice.
• Like watching a ca. 1980s piece of science fiction set in 2018.

Cons:
• The directness through the surrealism might be too much for some, particularly the clear romantic undertones.
• The weird and highly intricate nature of the writing might not be for everyone.

Discussion:
At its core, Maniac was a story about becoming more than the sometimes poor sum of one’s own parts. Maybe the sentient computer understood she could be more, but did not know how to deal with that, especially after experiencing true loss for the first time. Humans do not always know how to surpass themselves, finding false comfort in a seemingly unchangeable reality. Are we on some preordained path, or is it all just chaos? As surmised in Forest Gump (1994), perhaps it is a breezy mix of both. The series itself does not directly answer, but Subject One did save everyone through all the knowledge and understanding he gained by the end. Ultimately, it was all about facing the worst elements of ourselves, and how moving forward did not have to be achieved alone. The final message was how to choose to be a better person in spite of all the good and bad in all our lives.


Official Website

Rotten Tomatoes — 85%

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