Rectify : Season 1

Season #: 1, 2, 3
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 243 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: After 19 years in prison for the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Daniel Holden (Aden Young) is released due to DNA evidence. His return home brings new challenges including new family members and a divided community.
  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Jace Lacob
    May 30, 2013
    100
    It’s a breathtaking work of immense beauty and a thought-provoking meditation on the nature of crime and punishment, of identity and solitude, of guilt and absolution. It is, quite simply, the best new show of 2013.
  2. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Apr 22, 2013
    100
    It's a powerful, emotionally engaging character study.
  3. Reviewed by: Geoff Berkshire
    Apr 25, 2013
    90
    The good news is that this contemplative, utterly engrossing and frequently gorgeous character study achieves and then surpasses both of those goals [justify the network's foray into the field while living up to the Sundance brand] over the course of its initial six episode season.
  4. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    Apr 22, 2013
    80
    Throughout, Rectify maintains a remarkable rhythm--somewhere between reverie and anxiety. It takes its time, exploring characters' faces and gestures, their personal tics and their relationships--a glimpse into their souls.
  5. 80
    It’s not rushing us to the next plot point. It’s content to be present. It breathes.
  6. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    May 3, 2013
    75
    [Rectify] feels damply airless--the tension might be ripped open at any moment by a thunderclap of revelation.... It's a disturbing, impressive performance [from Aden Young as Daniel]. [13 May 2013, p.49]
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Apr 22, 2013
    40
    For about an episode and a quarter, it’s very good television. But over the rest of its six-episode first season it resembles nothing so much as a bad indie film, the kind of slow and tepid bummer that used to fill Sundance’s late nights and afternoons when it was a full-time movie channel.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 48
  2. Negative: 4 out of 48
  1. Jul 2, 2013
    10
    The casting choice and the acting being drawn from all of the actors in this show has been nothing but wondrous. Rarely have I ever beenThe casting choice and the acting being drawn from all of the actors in this show has been nothing but wondrous. Rarely have I ever been drawn, with such rapture, to the edge of my seat with the energy and slow building intensity of each and every episode.
    To the two tracks which the story is following that stand out for me is the deep insight into Daniel's life on death row, which has been both harrowing, and curious to watch unfold, and then that of his half brother, who is now, the age Daniel was when he was convicted and sent to prison. It brings the reality of just how young he was when he and his family's life changed so dramatically, and then how that would shape the mind of a young 18 year old over the next 20 years. Throw in the possibility of his innocence, and the rift within family and township as to his guilt, creates a well directed, produced and skilled performance by all involved in this shows making. Definitely a show of which the next season shall be eagerly awaited.
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  2. Apr 30, 2013
    10
    This is a mesmerizing and engrossing story that captured me right from the first episode. It raises all kinds of questions and thoughts aboutThis is a mesmerizing and engrossing story that captured me right from the first episode. It raises all kinds of questions and thoughts about someone missing 20 years on the outside. Very thought provoking; we need more of this kind of programming. Have seen 3 can't wait for the next 3. Bravo to the writers, producers, directors and fine cast. Collapse
  3. Aug 30, 2014
    10
    Sundance TV brings us another amazing show in Rectify, currently airing its second season. The show was created by Ray McKinnon (Sons ofSundance TV brings us another amazing show in Rectify, currently airing its second season. The show was created by Ray McKinnon (Sons of Anarchy) and stars Aden Young (Daniel), Abigail Spencer (Amantha), J. Smith Cameron (Janet), Clayne Crawford (Teddy), Adelaide Clemens (Tawney), J.D. Evermore (Sheriff Carl Daggett), and Luke Kirby (Jon).
    The drama takes place in the fictional small town of Paulie, Georgia (filmed in Griffin, Georgia just south of Atlanta). When the series begins, we see Daniel as he is released from death row. In one of the first scenes, he can see a new inmate having to endure a strip search not unlike the many he has likely endured during the last 19 years. When one of the guards approaches him and asks if he'd like something to drink, he seems stunned and confused at the sudden respect he is shown now that he is no longer an inmate. This is the first of many strange experiences that lay in store for Daniel as he ventures back out into a world that no longer resembles the one he had known when he was locked up as a teenager.
    Daniel is a complex character, played to perfection by Aden Young, an Australian actor by way of Canada. Daniel is quiet and moves very slowly and deliberately. He has not known time in the traditional sense that the rest of us know it. He has not been able to experience the passing of a day by looking the the sunrise or sunset. He does not know the seasons of the year, having been locked in a windowless cell for 19 years. He has only had his books and his neighbor, Kerwin, for company. He is able to talk with Kerwin through the air conditioning grate in the wall and occasionally see him as he is taken out of his cell. At first, it is unclear whether Daniel is a little slow, possibly mentally challenged in some way. But soon enough, we realize that he is a man of tremendous intellect and inner strength. In fact, we see him handle most situations with a deliberate, studied approach. Even his manner of speaking suggests that he is quietly considering each decision the day brings in that he doesn't use contractions but speaks each word fully and with purpose. There are times when you think you know him. His face stirs such emotion in the viewer that you want to take care of him, much like the members of his family and those few friends who still remember him from before his incarceration. But around every corner, we meet a different side to Daniel and find that he is a man not easily figured out.
    The other players in this drama are experiencing their own private drama. His sister, Amantha, has stood by her brother over the past 19 years, working tirelessly to clear his name and have him released from prison. In the process, she has put her own life on hold. Although she lives in Atlanta at the beginning of the series, she soon moves back to Paulie to be near her beloved Daniel. Amantha is not a delicate southern flower. She is tough and hardened. The only times we see her soften are when she is with her brother or the young handsome lawyer from Atlanta that is responsible for Daniel's release from Death Row. Abigail Spencer is mesmerizing as Amantha.
    The young lawyer, Jon, is played by Luke Kirby (Take This Waltz). In some ways, he's supposed to be the typical big-city, Jewish lawyer. But Kirby is understated in his portrayal. We soon realize that this case has become personal for him. He is struggling with the truth of the case. What was Daniel's role in the death of Hanna? And he is struggling with his palpable attraction to Amantha. Both of them realize the inappropriate nature of the relationship, but neither can stay away from the other. The chemistry between Luke Kirby and Abigail Spencer is electric on the screen.
    Daniel's mother, Janet, is another interesting character. While she is a southern woman who is quite soft and refined, she is also quite strong and assertive when it is called upon. She is quite educated and shares Daniel's love of good literature. It is quite clear that the two have a special relationship. They understand one another. They "get" one another in a way that Mothers and Sons don't often experience. I love their scenes together.
    My favorite couple, and the one that perplexes me the most, would be Tawney and Teddy. Tawney is played quite believably by the Australian actress Adelaide Clemens. Believe me, as a Southern girl myself, I have a high standard for nonSoutherners playing us, and she nails it. She is sweet, demure, and a devoted Christian in the truest sense of the world. There is a goodness in Tawney that I would hate to see shattered by the ugliness and evil in this world. But I fear that her faith in the goodness of others might be in jeopardy.
    Her husband, Teddy, on the other hand, has a more jaded, cynical view of the world. His father is married to Daniel's mother making Daniel his stepbrother. He is not so quick to welcome Daniel back into the fold. (see the rest of my review at www.jollybuzz.org).
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  4. May 8, 2013
    10
    A stunning achievement in just about every imaginable way, Rectify truly takes television beyond what it was meant for. It's deliberately slowA stunning achievement in just about every imaginable way, Rectify truly takes television beyond what it was meant for. It's deliberately slow paced and I mean this in such a good way. As a personal preference, I don't like slow paced tv shows unless the dialogue is interesting enough to grab me(ex. Deadwood, Justified). Interestingly enough, Rectify chooses its moments very carefully. In episode 2 for example, there's two scenes where the main character, Daniel, describes two very different experiences in wildly different ways. What makes these moments hit even harder is that Daniel rarely talks compared to the rest of the characters. So when he does talk, you listen. And you listen carefully. What hides behind this man's mask is a deep, thoughtful, and wise mind. But also a broken and hurt one as well. I've never heard of Aden Young before this show, but his performance might well be the best I've ever seen on television.

    A lot of people won't like this show and only really for one reason. It's slow. Really slow. But this show isn't afraid of doing it this way. Because Daniel is seeing the world slowly. He's taking in everything at a methodical pace. This sets the pace for the show and allows the audience to travel with him. It lets us sit back and experience these things for the first time as well. The beautiful sunsets, the sunny days where you just want to sit on the grass and feel the wind on your face, and other simple things that seem normal to us every day. The directing and cinematography help all of this along. Everything that we as people would normally not even glance at seem more beautiful in retrospect.

    The acting is top notch. No character is out of place or without purpose. Abigail Spencer and Adelaide Clemens especially give terrific performances. The former plays Daniel's sister who fought for his innocence all her life and now that she succeeded, doesn't quite know how to fill the void of fighting for Daniel with Daniel himself. She doesn't understand him, as most of the characters here don't. She doesn't even know how to try to understand him. Spencer is very convincing as this kind of character. Clemens thrives off her scenes with Young. Playing his sister in law and a well meaning religious woman, her scenes with Young hold some of the more interesting and thoughtful conversations in the entire show. Desperate to understand him and to connect, despite her husband's objections, she finds Daniel a testament to her beliefs as his deep mind convinces her so.

    The show doesn't quite delve into the rape and murder of Daniel's high school sweetheart, deciding to focus more on Daniel's attempt at integrating back into normal life after missing almost 20 years of social progress. This makes Daniel's innocence questionable in a lot of ways as the show doesn't spell it out. He could in fact be guilty. Which would make the sympathy you feel for him all that more remarkable.

    Rectify is a haunting, beautiful, serene, and heartbreaking show. While it certainly does feel complete in these six episodes, even with the disturbing open ending, it has recently been renewed for a second season, a further reason to watch this show as you can look forward to it delving deeper into Daniel's psyche and possibly the crimes he supposedly committed. Watch it. It's a must see.
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  5. May 3, 2013
    10
    Rectify is like one of those wonderful pieces of art that is arresting with its beauty, but filled with enough heart and depth that you'llRectify is like one of those wonderful pieces of art that is arresting with its beauty, but filled with enough heart and depth that you'll find yourself staring inward as well. Expand
  6. Jun 19, 2014
    9
    I'm late getting around to rating this, but was thinking about it because I'm eagerly anticipating the season 2 premiere on Monday. This wasI'm late getting around to rating this, but was thinking about it because I'm eagerly anticipating the season 2 premiere on Monday. This was great TV, very unusual lately, a show truly driven by old-fashioned plot, characters, and emotional nuance, rather that monsters, spies, supercomputers, and CGI stunts. Expand
  7. Apr 29, 2013
    0
    Guess I must be missing something based on the 9s and 10s showing up here. Me? I guess I was a little worn down by "Forrest Gump LeavesGuess I must be missing something based on the 9s and 10s showing up here. Me? I guess I was a little worn down by "Forrest Gump Leaves Prison." It's not that I'm unsympathetic to a man returning to society after two decades of what we are told is quite likely wrongful incarceration, but it was 20 years, not 200. Aden Young isn't "dazed and confused" as much as "dumb and dumber." My goodness, he was imprisoned in the 1990s, not the 1890s. Things haven't changed that much. Heck, there were even large volume soft drinks back then, but the idea of a 32 oz. cup seems to have confounded him at one point.

    But let's get to the characters. Can we get more cliched? I don't think so. The vengeful D.A. cum "Foghorn Leghorn"-type state senator. The equally vengeful and "what's-he-hiding?" current sheriff. The Henry Fonda-esque former sheriff (I think) who is morally conflicted by the fact that science (DNA) says not guilty while most town leaders see the release as BS. Oh, then there's the randy waitress trysting with the state senator, the jealous step-brother, the sympathetic wife of the jealous step-brother (she, of course, is conflicted and finds the newly released "innocent" almost irresistibly sympathetic), the noble sister, the cold mother and, last but certainly not least, the yin/yang inmates conveniently available for contrasting flashbacks. One is a redneck who torments the lead character while the other is open to the idea of reading W. Sumerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage." Puh-leeze. What a collection of cliches!!

    I'm waiting for the scene when the newly freed character stops to take in the true meaning of a summer's shower and spots a small bird ruffling its feathers in the rain. Ah, freedom!

    Ah, wake me when it's over.
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