‘The Last Thing He Told Me’ series review: A brilliant Jennifer Garner stuck in an uninteresting thriller

‘The Last Thing He Told Me’ plays out like an average thriller with nothing new to offer but works for a lazy afternoon watch

Updated - April 14, 2023 06:04 pm IST

Published - April 14, 2023 12:19 pm IST

A still from ‘The Last Thing He Told Me’.

A still from ‘The Last Thing He Told Me’. | Photo Credit: Apple TV+

Take one unit of Gone Girland turn it on its head; squeeze out the social commentary and the thrilling tropes of a mystery film, stretch it out for seven episodes lasting roughly 30-odd minutes and you have a season of The Last Thing He Told Me ready to be consumed.

Hannah Hall (Jennifer Garner) who makes a living as an acclaimed woodturner in Sausalito, California, has a picture-perfect life — living in a beautiful Venetian floating house she shares with her husband Owen (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). The only discomfort in her life is her relationship with her stepdaughter Bailey (Angourie Rice), a typical Californian teenager with colourful streaks in her hair and passive aggression reserved for Hannah; while there is palpable tension between the duo, it never reaches a boiling point. Things take a turn when Owen disappears after the tech company he works at gets involved in an embezzlement investigation that local journalists liken to the Enron scandal.

The Last Thing He Told Me (English)
Creators: Laura Dave, Josh Singer
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Angourie Rice, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, John Harlan Kim, Geoff Stults
Episodes: 7
Runtime: 30-40 minutes
Storyline: Hannah must forge a relationship with her 16-year-old stepdaughter, Bailey, to find the truth behind her husband’s mysterious disappearance

Hannah is left with a note from her missing husband reading “Protect her.” The situation forces her to make a trip to Austin to unearth the truth behind her husband’s disappearance with the help of her stepdaughter’s faint childhood memories. Over the course of this trip, Hannah and Bailey confront the uncomfortable and courageously explore the bond between a mother and a daughter.

Watching Jennifer Garner and Angourie Rice play off of each other’s energy is a sight to behold and the actors add depth to the otherwise two-dimensional characters, succeeding in making the show interesting for a while. Staying away from the wicked stepmother trope and choosing to not embellish their relationship with over-the-top sentiments feels like a breath of fresh air.

Adapted from Laura Dave’s book of the same name, the Apple TV+ miniseries is true to the source material thanks to the involvement of the author. However, the anxious pace of the plotline dissipates into thin air on-screen and the twists come across as bland and predictable.

Shot by an all-female team of directors starring a stellar cast, the show feels like it is just another avenue for the streaming giant to flex its budget. Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau’s genius goes underutilised and the lack of curiosity to explore the characters on screen dulls the project. The fact that the platform plans to phase out the episodes over multiple weeks might snub the remaining shine of the project.

The Last Thing He Told Me plays out like an average thriller with nothing new to offer but works for a lazy afternoon watch.

The Last Thing He Told Me is currently streaming on Apple TV+

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