Review: Russian Doll

Jagoda Waszkowiak reviews Netflix's Russian Doll, which is far different from your average comedy

Jagoda Waszkowiak
21st February 2019
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Russian Doll is a new limited series on Netflix created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler. Lyonne plays Nadia – a true New Yorker experiencing a mid-life crisis. The concept is similar to Happy Death Day as it starts with Nadia’s 36th birthday party and is shortly followed by her death when, on the same evening, she is hit by a taxi. However, this is obviously not the end, she keeps coming back in time, always to the same moment forcing her to relive the worst day of her life. The show managed to keep this premise interesting by perfectly combining gory imagery with drama and comedy. The end result is very intriguing and addicting.

In true Poehler’s fashion, all characters are ridiculous and over-the-top. Despite that, they came across as believable and relatable. The exposition is incredibly smooth and we learn a lot about Nadia within the first episode, this invests viewers within the story allowing them to become immediately addicted. The snappy dialogue provides the main source of humour, therefore the show avoids tacky physical jokes associated with dark comedies. Most importantly, thanks to the writer’s mastery, an inherently repetitive premise doesn’t feel repetitive. The show keeps the audience guessing and surprised as it constantly raises the stakes, bringing one twist after another.

I am absolutely in love and impressed with scenography and costumes. All of this was accompanied by an incredible soundtrack and outstanding cinematography. In the background of a heart-breaking drama, the show paints a picture of a diverse, colourful and dreamy New York, including both the dark and the light.

The show is far more original than we could have anticipated. Russian Doll proved to be far from standard dark comedies. It contains a deep moral whilst simultaneously remaining self-aware and making fun of forcefully deep tropes. The show uses the supernatural motif of repeated death, but presents it in an intimate and touching way, while remaining both funny and dark.

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