‘Tell Me Lies’ Review: Toxic Relationships Make for Good Drama

Tell Me Lies

Hulu finds itself in an interesting position. After the merger between 20th Century Fox and Disney, the streaming platform now falls next to the juggernaut that is Disney +. However, Disney+ isn’t precisely adult friendly. So far, the streaming service has found success by releasing family-friendly content alongside fan-favorite brands like Marvel and Star Wars. So, where is all the adult content? Is Disney going to leave that demographic in limbo? Not at all, Hulu has become the place for it. This is a review of Tell Me Lies a very adult show coming to Hulu.

Tell Me Lies is a TV series created by Meaghan Oppenheimer, and based on the novel of the same name written by Carola Lovering. The series stars Grace Van Patten, Jackson White, Catherine Missal, and Sonia Mena. The series tells the story of Lucy, a young woman who has a hard time feeling passionate about things until she meets Stephen. The relationship becomes an obsession and then so much more, as a sea of lies begins to develop between them.

Tell Me Lies follows the same aesthetic and mood as many other erotic thrillers. 50 Shades of Grey and the awful entity that is the 365 Days franchise have been trying to capture that golden goose. This is a part of the audience that has often feels neglected when it comes to stories involving sex and very toxic relationships. Tell Me Lies will appeal to that crowd, but unlike the previously mentioned projects, Tell Me Lies actually has a level of quality that allows the show to be more than hot people having sex with each other.

Tell Me Lies

The series introduces our two main protagonists, Lucy and Stephen, and makes them very interesting characters in their own way. They are not particularly talented or anything of the sort, but they do manage to be flawed people, and flaws are always the best way to make a character feel relatable. No one wants to see a character that is all perfect, that is boring. Lucy and Stephen are walking disasters, and it is quite entertaining to see them go about their day and then hook up, creating a bigger disaster in the process.

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Grace Van Patten has been seen here and there in small roles, but finally, her star is turning around, and she is getting more lead work. She plays the role of Lucy, who is very different from most protagonists in this kind of story. Why? Because unlike other characters in the genre, Lucy doesn’t feel as much as others Her behavior could be considered normal and in certain contexts, it is only for her that it is special. Not everyone feels the same things the same, so when she finds that there is something she really cares about, it feels amazing.

Stephen, on the other hand, is quite different from other male protagonists in the genre. He isn’t perfect at all. Most of the protagonists in these stories end up feeling like idealized versions of a man. They might be angry and such, but at their core, they are good people. Stephen is not a good person, at all. He is a liar, a manipulator, and a deceiver, and yet, he can hide all those things by putting on a mask where he is all charm.

Tell Me Lies

The relationship between the two starts with a foundation of lies and then just becomes worse and worse. It is quite entertaining to see them self-destruct in their relationship. They like each other, but they cannot be together, at least not without hurting each other a lot. It is inexplicable how in real life there are couples just like this, and they last for years, and years. Many people will end up feeling identified with the relationship and just for that, the series is much better than its predecessors.

The story moves at a good pace, but towards the end, you can feel that the series almost overextends itself too much. There is at least one episode here that could be destroyed, and its elements distributed among the rest of the episodes. It isn’t a dealbreaker at all, but it is something that often happens with shows nowadays.

The secondary cast is also quite delightful, they are mostly archetypes, but they do their job at keeping the story dynamic and not too focused on the main characters, as that could end up hurting the series. We need an escape from that main relationship so that we want to keep watching it. Too much of a bad thing can be exhausting.

Tell Me Lies is a very solid erotic thriller for those looking to watch a story where the protagonists are very horny for each other. There is a bit of romance as well, but because of the way the series frames it, it isn’t particularly romantic. The main actors also do a great job creating these intense characters. Tell Me Lies will probably last only one season, but there is potential here to launch a new Netflix vertical in this genre.

SCORE: 8/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.