Samantha Mannion calls the Hulu Original limited series Candy a slow-burning exploration of toxic female friendships.
The Hulu Original limited series Candy, created by Nick Antosca and Robin Vieth, is based on actual events. The series takes place in the suburbs of Wylie, Texas, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It follows two families and a murder that changes their lives forever. It's a slow-burning exploration of toxic female friendships, small-town politics, and the story behind the true crime.
The Montgomery family (Jessica Biel and Timothy Simons), and the Gore family (Melanie Lynskey and Pablo Schreiber), are seemingly good friends. They trust each other with privileged information and hang out all the time, whether in church or a backyard barbeque. They babysit each other's kids—their young daughters are best friends. Through a series of torrid and sinister events displayed throughout the episodes, one wife ends up as the prime suspect in the murder of the other. We peer inside their lives over two years in the five-episode series and piece together details that lead to the fatal crime.
The series suffers from moderate pacing issues. Certain moments have us watching at a pace that feels like we’re being dragged along, particularly in the second and third episodes, which primarily explain what happened before the murder. While these episodes aid character development, they don’t mention the crime. It’s a disappointment following the explosive and intense first episode that effectively built curiosity for what was to come. The series regains its momentum in the final episodes. Each is fast-paced and intensely captivating, with many twists and turns.
Where the series shined was in its costume design done by Robert Blackman. It tethered Candy to the late 70s early 80s setting in a fun and unique way. Anyone watching will quickly identify the era in which the story is set. Costuming also spoke volumes about each character, giving acute details about Candy Montgomery and Linda Gore’s personalities. Candy is fashion-forward, wearing form-fitting garments. Her clothing exudes confidence.
In contrast, Linda wears frumpy clothes, uncomfortable in her body after having a baby. It’s a tremendous physical demonstration of Linda’s awkwardness and discomfort in her community. Her clothing is boxy and oversized. She is trying to hide her body, fears, and anxieties underneath it all.
Candy boasts excellent performances from the entire cast. Despite the slow mid-series pacing, Biel, Lynskey, Simons, and Schreiber’s compelling portrayals of the two couples kept me engaged. They brought the characters to life, helping the audience to reconcile why the crime happened. I was also delighted to see stage actors appear throughout the series, including Tony Award nominee Raul Esparza and Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller. With few exceptions, her character felt very grounded in reality.
The series is good, but it also has some significant setbacks. It’s visually stunning, with an impeccable set and costume design bringing the period to life. However, it suffers severely from significant pacing issues that halt the intrigue about the crime itself. While it won’t make my list of favorite true crime adaptations, Candy is worth watching for the performances alone.
Candy is streaming exclusively on Hulu.