Top Of The Lake Image

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 104 Ratings

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  • Summary: Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) returns to New Zealand to visit her sick mother only to be drawn into the investigation of the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old (Jacqueline Joe).
  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Mar 15, 2013
    This haunting New Zealand miniseries boasts a strong, tense performance from Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss as a detective, but it's very much the work of director Jane Campion. [25 Mar 2013, p.44]
  2. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Mar 18, 2013
    This six-part series is so layered and unexpected that nothing follows a tried-and-true formula.... This is great TV.
  3. 100
    A triumph of writing, directing, and acting.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Mar 18, 2013
    Creepy and cockeyed, unholy and unnerving, Top Of The Lake is riveting stuff.
  5. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Mar 18, 2013
    Top of the Lake doesn’t fully get rolling for a while. Happily, Moss doesn’t let us become disinterested.
  6. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Mar 18, 2013
    It’s mainly an intelligent crime drama, and a real step forward for Sundance, which is bringing more original programming to its slate. As slow as it seems to go at first, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’re addicted.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Mar 18, 2013
    Most of the elaborately introduced plotlines fizzle out (or simply vanish), and the final surprise is the worst kind of twist ending, arrived at arbitrarily and seemingly presented for its shock value.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 21
  2. Negative: 6 out of 21
  1. May 18, 2013
    Watched this straight through after I discovered a post-it reminding me that this was coming on in March. Loved it.

    I'm looking at you,
    "The Killing" people when I say, This is how an atmospheric, locale-centric mystery is done. This down under gothic gets a 10. Expand
  2. Aug 24, 2013
    Top of the Lake is one of the most intriguing shows I've seen in long time, the quirkiness of the characters (especially Elisabeth Moss) enhanced the intertwined and un-nerving story-line. The characters were mysterious yet believable and scenery stunning. Another Campion New Zealand masterpiece. Expand
  3. Apr 17, 2013
    watched the whole series yesterday.......woot woot!!!! Loved Elisabeth Moss...she did her typical great job....Cant wait for Copper and Hell on Wheels to start again... Expand
  4. Apr 21, 2013
    Visually stunning, TotL is different from most short series in mood and pacing. Back stories are more 'inferred' than put on display so that the main investigation stays in focus. This show treats viewers like they're smart and paying attention. Actors are capable and characters are often bizarre. Understated performances keep things interesting. Very well directed and shot. Could there be a more for these characters? Expand
  5. Apr 12, 2013
    If you are a man hating woman this show is for you. The amount of emotional intelligence to find the show interesting precludes it mostly to women for starters. The fact that EVERY SINGLE MAN in the show is a hatful, spiteful, rapist, woman beater, dirty cop, child molesterer, drug dealer, bum, drunk or merely insensitive clod with the one exception of course of the romantic interest of the main character. While every woman in the show is an emotionally sensitive, understanding, moralistic, high champion of justice and what's right, makes the show somewhat single faceted in its' diatribe. The show is compelling in terms of the acting and general plot, but the awful one sided message seems to override the plot as a premise for the story at times. You really have to wonder at the writing and directing of Jane Campion here. Expand
  6. Feb 3, 2014
    Jane Campion is a champion of the weird and freakish. It was therefore with trepidation that I followed this mini-series. Turns out, my apprehension was well founded. In a nutshell, Robin is back to her New Zealand hometown of Laketop to visit her sick mother. She is coming from Australia, where she moved and became a cop of some sort.

    The local police get in touch with her when Tui, a 12 yo girl turns up at the station, suicidal and pregnant. This is just the beginning of the most bizarre investigative procedure I have seen on screen. Tui is interrogated by Robin (a “specialist” in dealing with kids). Despite the unpleasantness of the situation nothing much comes out of her mouth (was it rape? was it something even more sinister?) Whatever it was, during her interrogation, Tui manages to look merely annoyed, rather than scared or shocked.

    Completing the female cast is a bunch of women camping on the lake shore and “guided” by GJ – one of the most obnoxious characters ever. Tui goes visiting their camp, then she goes missing and everybody in creepy Laketop gets involved to find her (or what remains of her body). During the very loose and badly coordinated search, we get to know all of Robin’s dark secrets.

    If the female cast is unpleasant more grief comes from the male side. We have Matt, the local bad guy, involved in criminal activities and apparently father of almost every youngster in Laketop. He is also Tui’s father, although their relationship is left mostly unexplored. Then we have Al, the lieutenant, too creepy for words. Potential (and actual) rapists/misogynists fill the local bar, together with Johnno, yet another of Matt’s offspring (or maybe not) who could (or not) be the only good guy around. But he also has his share of quirky behaviors, such as sleeping in a tent, for reasons I could not quite grasps.

    The denouement of the whole plot turns out as one of the most anti-climactic ever. Somebody gets shot, Robin discover a dark plot (of the type already explored and exploited much better in Twin Peaks), Tui goes back to normal life, still managing to look supremely bored and completely detached from all the tragedy around her. The end.

    Not a single character in the series was likeable or engaging, although I suppose main character Robin was meant to elicit some sympathy. The biggest let down was Tui, who played her character either catatonic or bored. Also extremely puzzling the GJ character. I just cannot figure why anybody would follow such a rude person to the end of the world, thinking she has a “teaching” or enlightenment of any sort to impart.
  7. Apr 3, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Being a fan of New Zealand I thought I'd give this series a chance. Then Elizabeth Moss shows up with an okay accent. She's an excellent actress,but how about a kiwi? It worked well for Spartacus. Next, the episode meanders along, okay I can handle that. After a while I notice that EVERY man is a straw man/cypher. They are all bad, stupid, evil, and ones not showed but implied are rapists and/or pedophiles. Hummmm, this is begining to sound familiar. As I look more closely at the guru I go "Is that Holly Hunter sure enough it is. I must have missed the credit of Jane Campion. On episode two I see, yep its her. Fine, if you like quirky, visually interesting TV ,this show has it and she uses her NZ landscape well. But after a while I grew tired of the fact that ALL the men are crap, despite an excellent performance by Peter Mullan. Jane, you can make your point, but in the real world not all men Yeah, I know many are right bastards, but not all.) are evil monsters who wish to rape, kill, sodomize or genrally treat women in a horrible way. I suggest a little counseling for your apparent hatred for all things male. Jeez, you really hate us don't you? This really detracts from what promised to be an interesting show. Sign me had enough of this. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews

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