Love and Death: Candy Montgomery’s True Story

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Set in a small town of Wylie, Texas, Love and Death ignites with a horrific intro. Moving images conveys knife cutting in the kitchen, baby crying and blood sipping from below washing machine. The opening credit was blaring with 1965 song “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone. If you are happen to be a fan, find the record here.

There’s also an appearance of a shabby chic white-picket fences house, with its vintage household decor. A home that was built in the 70’s. Elizabeth Olsen sets in the bathroom showering with a gripping expression. Aside from depicted a depressing tone, there’s a sprinkle of sultry lingerie she wears. I hesitated at the moment to watch it, but that soon changed. 

Candy Montgomery

A charming, religious, housewive. what else can you ask? Bearing a pair of healthy and adorable son and daughter, Candy cooks, bakes delicious cookies, prepped her kids lunchbox and still look dazzling. A devoted churchgoers that seem to get along with everyone. Played by Elizabeth Olsen, she captivates us with her big round eye, and cheery southern american-accent as Candy Montgomery. 

Because this miniseries is written and produced by David E.Kelley who is also known for Golden globe winner series, Big Little Lies, we can expect a pace of story in medium speed with dramatic suspense. 

Candy’s search of the missing excitement in her life,despite having the perfect family were on purposely made to be sleazy, hungry for lust and frivolous in the movie. An old-fashioned hanky panky affair take its time because Allan Gore were trapped between his fear of hurting his wife and wanting to escaped from a troubled marriage. 

Candy and love

“With the rat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat on the drums…”

– Turn The Beat Around,Vicki Sue Robinson.

Allan Gore, played by Jesse Plemons, were able to twist how Candy feel as woman. She feels rejuvenated, more lively than ever before. Moreover she had a sense that the world was backing her up in every filthy secrets she hid with the chubby man. The driving scene where Candy screams her voice to the song Turn The Beat Around and her moves that’s giving retro vibe-mama were a symbol of her temporary glory. How a woman managed to embrace her wild fantasy from a boring housewife to somebody’s love interest, and then end it from it to swung back into her husband’s arms safely. She felt like a winner.

Candy and Allan Gore first sparks

Candy and her acting—the unblinking look of concern in her eyes —thinks that she can always get away with everything. Her audacity of lingering around the Wiley society. She even attended  Betty’s funeral and were at Betty’s house. It was a stirring performance from Olsen on portraying Candy’s dissociative behaviour.

Allan Gore

Allan’s character development by Plemons was impressive. An awkward family-man in his forties that are indecisive and slightly unattractive. But not awkward enough to have an affair with Candy. Even though Allan and Candy were in the same church board member, along with Betty his mentally fragile wife and Candy’s husband,Pat. 

Post-death of Betty Gore, the audience would ultimately second-guess Allan’s love for his late wife.

The love and death of Betty Gore

Kelley is excellent in writing television’s female character exploration. He dwells the protagonist and antagonist every now and then to sway the viewers moral standards. Light but amusing, Kelley made the audience understand the inner-conflict with themselves and pull us to find reasoning on each episodes. Betty Gore was one of them.

As a victim in the true murder scene that took time on June 13, 1980, Betty was killed with 41 strikes of axe by Candy Montgomery. The tragedy known as the North Texas Ax-Murder. 

In the series, Betty was a school teacher and a good friend of Candy. Portrayed with several mental health issues, she was always anxious and took it out on Allan. Betty, played by Lily Rabe, had a postpartum depression and had anxieties over Allan’s business travels. As opposed to her symphathetic character as the victim, the viewers will probably have second thoughts about her love language to Allan. 

The love of a best friend

Sherry Cleckler, played by Krysten Ritter shares a really good example of a best friend. Though she was not the leading role in the movie, but Krysten was a show herself. She was not only attractive but playfully spiced up the appearance of the movie. Church background was intense in the first episodes , where most characters are religious and timid when it comes to talks of sin, Sherry maintain her cool.

Candy Montgomery and Sherry Cleckler 

Sherry supported her buddy, Candy in a constructive and trusting manner. She even initiate to collaborate with Candy to start a small business. As a close friend that knows Candy inside-out, she remained non-judgemental of the marital affair. Different than the common sassy, bodacious girls, Sherry was truly a loyal best friend with genuine feelings. 

The reception of the movie

How viewers perceived Candy between a killer and other parts of her had shifted over the course of decades, is inevitable. With our awareness of mental health now, people view the crime differently the way in the 80’s. The series lets the audience contemplates more widely on other aspects.

It was calculated that Love and Death had earned $20.1 million at the box office per March 2024. It was a pretty good reception on the seven-episode miniseries. Find the first season here .

Elizabeth Olsen in one of the Love and Death haunting scenes.

Compared to previous remake of the 80’s murder story, called Candy—played and also produced by Jessica Biel, Love and Death weren’t too centralized on the lead role, Candy Montgomery. It was a little bit more fluid on the whole sides of the story. Whereas Candy,released earlier in 2022 had deeper exploration mainly on Candy Montgomery’s character.

Author: Fraya

A writer and entrepreneur with profound interest in humankind research and insights. An avid coffee drinker and book hoarder. Hours and days spent in Jakarta.

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