Hulu dropped Mrs. America this week to save us from our boring ass quarantines. I was dangerously close to looking up more info on that new Quibi app. That’s how dire things are. I was about to watch People’s Court starring Chrissy Teigan and Punk’d starring Chance the Rapper.
Thank you, Hulu.
Although, they only released three episodes which defeats the purpose of paying for a streaming service but that’s a conversation for another day. Drop the entire season all at once. If you wanted to do a weekly release then you shoudld’ve just aired this show on FX.
Mrs. America is a miniseries about the 1970’s battle for women’s equal rights as second-wave feminism fought conservative housewives over the Equal Rights Amendment but the story is being told through the eyes of Phyllis Schlafly, the woman who actively campaigned against the ERA and the feminist movement.
Who better to make you fall in love with a woman you should despise than Cate Blanchett. It is fascinating seeing the story of Schlafly shown in today’s political environment as she made her fame by using misleading ‘facts’ and jumping to wild conclusions. The same type of right-wing antics that would see Phyllis Schlafly drawing the highest ratings on Fox News every night in 2020.
Schlafly used ridiculous leaps in logic to convince women that the Equal Rights Amendment would force women to be drafted into wars and that it was an assault at stay at home moms. Sean Hannity could never.
But Cate Blanchett makes that woman more than palatable.
There is no better example of that then in Episode 3 where Schlafly organizes a convention to elect local leadership. Mary Frances of the Louisiana Chapter is not shy about her racism so Schlafly asks her long time friend Alice (played by Sarah Paulson) to ask her to turn down the bigotry because Schlafly is afraid of confrontation and Alice is so much better at that kind of stuff.
Obviously that immediately goes wrong because telling a spoiled blonde lady from Lousiana that racism is bad is the equivalent of telling her that her outfit is tacky. Thems is fighting words.
But what makes that scene so incredible is how Cate Blanchett gradually grows from helpless to devious mastermind and the subtle glee in her face as she puppet masters her way into the exact outcome she was hoping for.
Cate Blanchett is at her best when she’s portraying an entitled woman of means who has convinced herself that she is better than the people around her. I mean shit, she won an Oscar for it in Blue Jasmine.
Real quick: am I allowed to still enjoy Blue Jasmine or do we have to pretend like Woody Allen never existed because I’ll be honest, it’s a lot easier for me to imagine that Kevin Spacey movies never happened than to never watch Manhattan again.
It’s also impossible not to compare her with a Mrs. America co-star Rose Byrne, as you see Cate perfectly mastering that 1970’s mid-atlantic dialect while Rose Byrne’s version of Gloria Steinem has a completely different voice in every single scene.
Cate is such a talented actor that she finds a way to turn a scene in which she is raped by her husband from a moment that could’ve just existed to show how unpleasant the home life she was fighting for actually was into a power play that shows how she is low-key taking advantage of her husband’s political sway while allowing him to continue to believe he’s in charge.
There are few actors who can express such complicated ideas with just one facial expression but Cate Blanchett is the best among them. Every scene where she’s discussing politics with men who do not expect her to know anything is fascinating. Even the first scene of her competing in a bikini contest was fantastic acting and she didn’t even say a word.
But with only three episodes aired thus far, I will save my deep dive of the series for a later date and how I think this show forces Uzo Adoba and Margot Martindale’s characters to split story time while Cate has all the freedom in the world in her scenes thus not at all giving equal screen times to both sides of this moment in history but again, that’s a conversation for another day and perhaps as the series continues, they’ll all get more room to breath.
Cate Blanchett is the best actor in the world and no one can tell me otherwise.