TV Review: 'The Smile of a Mockingbird' (2014)

The best way to describe “The Smile of a Mockingbird” is as a female-led version of "The Count of Monte Cristo.” Its story chronicles the trials and tribulations of Vika, whose decision to leave her small coastal town with a smooth-talking man of mystery has life-altering implications.

“The Smile of a Mockingbird” does not waste time before letting viewers know the man of Vika's dreams is actually a nightmare. For Vika, it takes more than telling and showing her. She refuses to recognize that she loves a horrible person, despite whatever evidence is provided for her.

That part is frustrating, as his how many torments Vika has to endure. The amount of suffering she has to go through makes thoughts of her only getting a happy ending difficult to find completely satisfying.

“The Smile of a Mockingbird” takes viewers along as Vika's devotion to her dastardly husband leads her down unexpected spirals and harrowing revivals. The series does a terrific job of portraying the disastrous and slowly corrosive impact that being unable to see a loved one honestly can have.

Vika has unconditional love for her husband, and the series depicts the ultimate conclusion taking that approach to love can have. “The Smile of a Mockingbird” takes its time unraveling a situation that keeps you waiting for Vika to finally have a victory, only to have her hopes crushed, time and time again. A series full of twists and turns, it is impossible to become bored.

The performances from the entire ensemble are fantastic and engaging. Elena Aroseva brings believable innocence to Vika, and Kirill Safonov gives a sharp turn as Vika's diabolical husband. Every story needs a worthy villain, and Kirill is one of the most blatantly portrayed in recent memory.

The thing is, Kirill is so smart it is hard to imagine him being outsmarted, and therein lies the need to stretch one’s imagination to make dreams of his takedown feasible. The impressive thing is “The Smile of a Mockingbird” finds a way to address that aspect in a credible way that does not make concessions on behalf of the characters it has already built. They remain their original selves until the bitter end.

What happens when you marry a psychopathic narcissist? “The Smile of a Mockingbird” gives you a dramatic sixteen-episode close-ended answer with quite a few real-life truths strewn in between.

Rating: 7.5/10

“The Smile of a Mockingbird” (originally titled "Ulybka peresmeshnika") is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

[Featured Image by Art Line]