The Patient movie review and movie summary (2022)

Part of this comes from how Sam is portrayed – the show doesn’t lean enough into the absurdity of the concept, of this free-therapy-achieving captivity mixed with Sam’s extra bad behavior. Brief moments of horror are presented ho-hum, as with a murder in a parking lot staged with little flair, constantly extending the convenience that this serial killer still hasn’t been caught after all this. “The Patient” isn’t in favor of showing violence, but it also doesn’t know how to suddenly cut to black, usually with a surprised character gasping, register as all that scary.

There’s a sentimental undercurrent to “The Patient” that rises to the surface throughout, thanks in large part to Carell’s contemplative performance. In his captivity, Alan spends time thinking about his own relationship with his son Ezra, who became Orthodox (an “extreme Jew,” Alan calls him) and estranged from the family. When Alan’s wife, a Jewish cantor named Beth (Laura Niemi) died of cancer, which created even more excitement. The series returns to Alan’s reassessments of Ezra almost as a respite from the basement, and it bears repeating. It’s a long-winded way for the series to get to these emotions and revelations that could be poignant in a smaller dose.

Carell also helps frame this as a story of survival, as Alan gathers his sense of inner strength that comes from his faith—including a vision of Man’s search for meaning author Viktor Frankl in the concentration camp that inspired said book. The weak tension in the plot does not feed a nervousness about Alan’s survival, but at least we can see the endurance at play in Carell’s gradually tired gaze. All the while he has to maintain a calm voice as he uses various therapeutic methods on Sam, planning ways to convince Sam to finally let him go.

“The Patient” is the type of long series that reigns more with its sentimentality than its dramatic execution, in part because the former is more valuable than the latter. Its heart is in the right place, especially as a text that believes in therapy and empathy. But its mind wanders in circles when it gets one to understand what it is trying to say.

Full series shown for review. “The Patient” premieres on FX on Hulu on August 30.

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