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I Know This Much Is True

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Why it’s worth your time:

A long-awaited adaptation of the 1998 novel, the HBO series packs 900 pages into a six-episode limited series, paying careful tribute to the emotional calibrations of author Wally Lamb’s bestselling book, the story of Dominick Birdsey’s struggle to care for his schizophrenic twin brother, Thomas, while uncovering the truth about their family.

Set mostly in the 90s, ‘I Know This Much Is True confronts many tragedies: sexual abuse, HIV, cancer, murder.  Underlying all of the misfortune are layers of racism and the mistreatment of immigrants and Native Americans.

For many critics, it was too much. But readers of the novel and fans of complex psychological sagas will embrace it, while Mark Ruffalo’s ability to bring both brothers to life will have viewers and critics talking all the way through awards season.

“I am not a smart man, particularly, but one day, at long last, I stumbled from the dark woods of my own, and my family’s, and my country’s past, holding in my hands these truths: that love grows from the rich loam of forgiveness; that mongrels make good dogs; that the evidence of God exists in the roundness of things. This much, at least, I’ve figured out. I know this much is true.”

From Ines Bellina, AV Club

“The discovery of who sired the Birdsey twins is the closest thing the story has to a hook, but the miniseries cares less about the mystery than it does about exploring how power and abuse shape an individual and, by extension, a community.”  Read full review

From Brian Lowry, CNN.com:

“It’s Ruffalo’s showcase, and he overcomes the clichés about dual roles, creating two distinct characters, while playing Thomas’ quirks in a believable manner.”  Read full review.

The takeaway:

A heavy dose of tragedy, I Know This Much is True is a sociological drama that peels back several layers to examine the forces that collide to make us who we are.

Watch it with:

Your Book Club – or your Binge Viewers Club.  There’s a reason Oprah picked this novel.

Worth noting:

The story is personal for Ruffalo, whose own brother was murdered over 10 years ago.

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