Can Enlightenment be Entertaining?October 28, 2011

Can Enlightenment be Entertaining?


On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: "Enlightened" (HBO).


ENLIGHTENED - Starring Laura Dern

By Jean Tait


Miguel Arteta and Mike White are the pair who brought us CHUCK AND BUCK (which didn’t thrill me) and THE GOOD GIRL (which brought out the best in Jennifer Anniston). Here, they are working with Laura Dern (who, aside from getting involved with Billy Bob Thornton, can do no wrong), so I was cautiously optimistic about “Enlightened.”

Then Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of the least-favored new fall shows.

Now I’ll admit, it is a little slow. This is a leisurely character study, not a rip-roaring soap or a police procedural that ties up a plot in a half-hour. It’s an exploration of human relationships, and that it does extremely well.


Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) crashed and burned in a very public way at her job, leading her to a Hawaiian rehab facility that teaches her new methods of dealing with her anxieties. When she comes back to the real world, however, the people who witnessed her breakdown don’t adapt to shiny, new Amy the way she expected them to. She has to learn that spiritual awakening is not so easy when not on a lovely beach in Hawaii with an all-supportive group. A couple of “om’s” doesn’t make problems go away.



From her unsympathetic mother (Laura Dern’s real life mom, Diane Ladd) to her wary ex-husband (the always wonderful Luke Wilson) to the contemptuous co-workers who reveled in her downfall, each encounter poses a very real risk of emotional implosion or explosion.

I found this tension very interesting, but I can see that others would be bored with the lack of plot twists and easy laughs. A struggle for emotional stability is not our usual television fare. It’s not “Homeland,” or “Modern Family,” but I’m going to give it a chance and see if it blossoms.



- Jean Tait


Jean Tait is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. Currently the Director of Programming for the Connecticut Film Festival, Jean has programmed for the Jacksonville Film Festival and Sundance Channel.


Look for Enlightened (HBO On Demand) availability on your local cable provider.


Other Reviews You May Like:




TRUE BLOOD - Mid Season Report

THE BIG C - Showtime - DEMAND IT

WEEDS - Showtime - DEMAND IT

« Previous
Next »