For those of you who don’t know, Joe Swanberg is a filmmaker with over thirty movies/television shows in his filmography. He is one of the main figures in the Mumblecore movement, which is a film movement characterized by low budget, grassroots filmmaking. Recently Swanberg released a new television series on Netflix called Easy and today I am going to review it.
Easy is an anthology series, which means that it does not tell one story but a different story with different characters every episode. But the great thing about Easy is that each episode takes place in the same fictional world and the characters in each episode pass in and out of each other’s lives so each story is connected.
This way of storytelling is great for people like me who enjoy overarching stories in television shows the most.
By telling a different story every episode Swanberg creates a great opportunity for an expansive ensemble cast. In eight episodes of television Swanberg manages to cast Zazie Beetz, Jane Adams, Dave Franco, Kiersey Clemons, Evan Jonigkeit, Michael Chernus, Orlando Bloom, Malin Akerman and Hannibal Buress. The list of great actors in this show goes on and on.
By the affect of having this great expansive cast, Swanberg is able to inject some diversity into this series. With stories coming from many different races, genders, sexualities and one episode featuring mostly Spanish language actors. It seems like this injection of diversity is an attempt to capture what the city of Chicago, where this series and many of Swanberg’s other projects take place, is really like.
The eight different episodes are vastly different and cover a wide variety of stories, but they are all connected by the same themes of love, sex and family. Even the title, Easy, which is slang for sexually open.
Another piece of connecting tissue in this show is experimentation. Swanberg experiments with the formula of T.V. Show, characters in the show experiment in their lives, including an episode about a married couple who engages in three way sex with a friend and different experimental stories are told, like the aforementioned Spanish language episode.
Although the ‘Mumblecore’ film genre may not be for everyone, I think this television show has great mass appeal, beautifully shot and cleverly written, Easy is something new and special from a filmmaker who specializes in new and special.
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