Elizabeth Olsen rises to the challenge of portraying Leigh Shaw, a rattled young widow consumed by grief in the Facebook Watch series, Sorry For Your Loss. We meet Leigh three months after the mysterious death her husband Matt (Mamoudou Athie) and quickly becomes a force to be reckoned with. Leigh’s honesty is refreshing albeit jarring, at times.
Leigh begrudgingly attends a grief group. She doesn’t put on a show to make others feel more comfortable around her. Instead, she owns this period of mourning and openly wallows. This is her time to be “mean” and “angry” because she doesn’t have the energy or heart for social niceties. Even when she is harsh on others, it is difficult to chastise someone in her position. In this tragic scenario, the widow gets carte blanche and everyone else just has to deal with it.
“This is her time to be ‘mean’ and ‘angry’ because she doesn’t have the energy or heart for social niceties…”
As a viewer, we feel torn because we sympathize with the various parties involved. Leigh is not the only person to lose a loved one, yet she is the one person entitled to have a total meltdown. In the midst of dealing with their own issues, Leigh’s family remains incredibly understanding and supportive. Her mother Amy (Janet McTeer) struggles to expand her women’s wellness business and keep her “Beautiful Beast” workout studio afloat. Her sister Jules (Kelly Marie Tran) is a recovering addict who is proud to have maintained sobriety, instead of allowing Matt’s death to trigger a relapse. Then there’s Matt’s brother, Danny (Jovan Adepo). He seems to be the one person who really gets under Leigh’s skin and speaks his mind without hesitation. As the two people who arguably loved Matt the most, they seem to have a fascinating love/hate relationship.
The clear constant in everyone’s lives was Matt and his admirable ability to keep the peace. He was the glue that held them all together and they all feel a great sense of loss. But what if Matt isn’t really who he seemed to be? In each episode, Leigh has various thematic flashbacks. An item, an event, a person, even a stray dog, all trigger memories that make her start reexamining their past. Even though Matt was the nice guy, we come to realize that he was still battling his own demons.
“Even if you grow tired of Leigh’s rude, snappy and self-indulgent behavior, you still find yourself drawn into the narrative.”
Even if you grow tired of Leigh’s rude, snappy and self-indulgent behavior, you still find yourself drawn into the narrative. Mostly because of the suspense surrounding Matt’s death. We have no idea how he died and we find ourselves trying to piece together these little clues as the series unfolds and Leigh’s life unravels.
Sorry For Your Loss’ direction, writing and production values give the series a cinematic indie movie feel. It is rare to see a half-hour drama, but the brief episodic time frame serves the narrative well. The brevity makes the heavy subject easier to bear and specks of humor offer moments of levity so you don’t feel bogged down by all the grief. After completing the first four episodes, I want to see what happens next and I think you will too.
Sorry For Your Loss (2018) Created by Kit Steinkellner. Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Jovan Adepo, Mamoudou Athie, Janet McTeer, Kelly Marie Tran. Sorry For Your Loss is available on Facebook Watch.
8 out of 10 stars