In case you haven’t seen Netflix’s most acclaimed new property of the year and are relying on the wisdom of Craccum for reviewing content that any respectable publication looked at weeks ago, Russian Doll is Natasha Lyonne at her best: strung-out but with perfect comic timing, and never too far from a cigarette and a delightfully foul mouth.
It’s a show that encapsulates what Netflix is capable of doing with their new budget – using a stable of faithful actors, MGM-style, to create solid properties that take our knowledge of the actors and go so much further with them. Lyonne’s troubled history is intertwined with her portrayal of Nadia Vulvokov, the titular doll. She takes what could have been a very caricatured character, a software genius with a crushing family history and a semi-functional relationship with hard drugs and alcohol, and sees both the humour and the pain that comes with that identity. Vulvokov is a woman trapped in a loop – both literally, as an unwilling participant in a Groundhog Day time cycle, and as a woman who doesn’t really know if she wants to live or die after her 36th birthday.
Through this endless cycle, we’re treated to a story about a woman (and a not very interesting man also stuck in the loop) learning to forgive herself before it’s too late. Aside from the aforementioned bore, the supporting cast are also welcome additions to Netflix’s collection. Overall, well worth the watch.