FX on Hulu’s “Mrs. America” premiered on April 15 and tells the true story of the fight for and against women’s rights from the point of view of Phyllis Schlafly (played by Cate Blanchett), a conservative activist who campaigned to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. In a presidential election year where both 2020 candidates’ treatment of women has been closely scrutinized, what do critics think on this historical look at feminism in America?
So far they love it. As of this writing “Mrs. America” has a MetaCritic score of 88 based on 25 reviews counted thus far, 24 of which are positive and only one somewhat mixed. Nine of those positive reviews are so glowing they score a perfect 100 on MC’s sliding scale. On Rotten Tomatoes the series is rated 96% fresh based on 25 reviews counted so far, only one of which is rotten; unlike the more nuanced MetaCritic, the Tomatometer categorizes reviews merely as positive or negative. RT’s critics’ consensus summarizes the reviews by saying, “‘Mrs. America’ captures the complicated life and times of Phyllis Schlafly with poise and style to spare, brought to vivid life by a superb ensemble led by another masterful performance from Cate Blanchett.”
Indeed, Blanchett’s performance is being praised for its “frosty perfection,” “nailing everything” about the controversial central character. The series as a whole is a “must-watch” that plumbs the “moral, political and philosophical complexity” of the era it depicts. It shows us “how far we still have to go” as a country and will leave you “questing for a revolution.” However, the sole naysayer surveyed by review aggregators so far argues that this portrait of Schlafly lacks “clarity about her inner life.”
Will such a polarizing political figure appeal to Emmy voters or turn them off? Well, just look at “Game Change,” which took on an even more divisive subject — vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin — and won five awards in 2012 including Best Movie/Miniseries and Best Movie/Mini Actress (Julianne Moore), as well as trophies for its writing (Danny Strong) and directing (Jay Roach). And last fall’s “Bombshell” earned three Oscar nominations a few months ago for its take on sexual harassment at Fox News, winning for its makeup and hairstyling.
How do you think “Mrs. America” will do at the Emmys? Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow TV fans.
Judy Berman (Time): “This degree of moral, political and philosophical complexity is what differentiates ‘Mrs. America’ from so many other recent dramatizations of women’s movements past … What I took from ‘Mrs. America,’ my favorite new show this year, is that there’s an elemental difference between working exclusively for your own enrichment and organizing on behalf of an oppressed group that happens to include you. What separates the two, in fact, is the distance between dictatorship and democracy.”
Kristen Lopez (IndieWire): “FX on Hulu’s new series is a must-watch. It reminds us, yet again, of how far we’ve come as a country and unfortunately how far we still have to go. It also shows there’s not just one way to be a woman, that women don’t naturally agree on things — and does that ultimately make us unable to ever be united? ‘Mrs. America’ is a show that will leave you thinking and, if you’re femme in any way, questing for a revolution.”
Kimberly Roots (TVLine): “Cate Blanchett (‘Elizabeth’) plays the conservative Schlafly to frosty perfection, nailing everything from her speech cadence to her not-a-hair-outta-place blonde beehive … The all-star cast also includes standouts like Rose Byrne (‘Damages’) as the media-savvy Steinem, Tracey Ullman as second-wave pioneer Friedan and Uzo Aduba (‘Orange Is the New Black’) as Democratic Senator/presidential hopeful Shirley Chisholm. Ullman, in particular, is captivating.”
Caroline Framke (Variety): “Even as ‘Mrs. America’ successfully proves Schlafly’s significance within history, it less often finds the kind of clarity about her inner life that such an intensive biopic seeks to land. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, ‘Mrs. America’ does far better by its relatively lesser-known historical figures … The series may be fascinated by Schlafly and her various arms of power, but it never quite proves that it understands them.”
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the nominees are announced on July 28. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.