Review: HBO's "Love and Death," what Makes it Different From Other 'True Crime'?

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HBO Max dusts off, four decades later, the story of Candy Montgomery, the woman who killed her lover's wife and was not found guilty.

Still from the series 'Love and death'

Photo: HBO

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: Reseña: "Amor y muerte" de HBO, ¿qué la hace distinta a otros ‘true crime’?

Suddenly, the premise generates expectations and confronts us with the limits that may exist with the evil fueled by love obsession. One of the criticisms Instagram receives as a social network is the habit of showing only the positive side of life. By way of compensation, streaming platforms realize that 'true crime' is one of the most recurring trends in their content. With the miniseries "Love and Death," which contrasts with the perfect life of some social networks, HBO shows us the dark side of the perfect life of its characters.

What is the Miniseries About?

How can it be possible that a housewife with a perfect traditional family model, Methodist believer and practitioner, sportswoman, and amateur writer commits one of the most heinous murders in history to her friend without judicial consequences? More or less, this is the question the creators of HBO's "Love and Death" are trying to answer with the miniseries.

The production features Candy Montgomery (Elizabeth Olsen), a housewife with the characteristics mentioned above, who also becomes involved in an affair with Allan (Jesse Plemons), the husband of her friend Betty (Lily Rabe). The two agree to consummate the infidelity. After the experience ended and they were discovered, Candy ended up murdering her friend with more than 41 axes.

HBO Max episodes present this story based on events in Wylie (Texas) 1980. This situation, culminating in tragedy, left Candy acquitted, as she was not considered guilty of the murder despite having confessed to it. The verdict determined that she had acted in self-defense. However, she did have to suffer public scorn in her city and, currently, in her social networks.

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The Vile Face of Rage in Women

The miniseries, whose final chapter is already available on the HBO MAX platform, features two dialogues that hint at the development of the heinous murder. The first is when Pat (Patrick Fugit) tells Candy she always wants more, and the second is when she says she has done everything a woman of the 70s should do in the housewife's trade but still fails to see her reward.

"Love and Death" makes the viewer a witness to one of the most famous crimes in the United States. In the first shot, the camera enters the crime scene as an intruder, and with it, the viewer enters. It reflects the peaceful, average, and cheerful character of a neighborhood that still does not imagine the viciousness that took place in one of its homes.

In addition to the condiments that feed the viewer's morbid curiosity, this case differs from the rest because it shows female rage at its maximum expression. Almost most 'true crime' productions are interested in male serial killers and sexual predators. Leading women as murderers generate uneasiness in those who watch the miniseries.

"Love and Death" does not explore Candy's psychology but instead tries to stick to the details offered in the most famous article about the case, which was published in Texas Monthly. From that point of view, the most sensible thing to do with the story is to tell it linearly, which is what happens with the HBO miniseries Max.

Perhaps one of the pending issues of this miniseries is the approach to Candy's transformation. She went from wanting an affair out of boredom to obsession with her lover, and how that obsession led her to commit the murder. The episodes take a more careful narrative approach to the trials and what happened after the murder. Otherwise, the Lesli Linka Glatter-directed production does an authoritative capture of the late 1980s.

Candy Montgomery comes to take over from the boom that last year implanted Jeffrey Dahmer. Just as there were several productions about him on different platforms, Candy is the one that aired on HBO Max and launched a year ago by Hulu, available in Latin America on the Star+ platform.