Friday, June 24, 2022

Chloe, on Prime Video

What you see on social media isn’t necessarily real. Everyone should know that by now, but this new series acts like it is a major discovery. In this case, Becky Green always thought her former pre-teen best friend Chloe Fairbourne had a perfect life while following her from a far, via Insta-whatever. She is therefore shocked by her suicide, as were her closest friends. However, when Green insinuates herself into Fairbourne’s circle, she starts to suspect her perfect life was not everything it was cracked up to be in creator Alice Seabright’s six-episode Chloe, which premieres today on Prime Video.

Evidently, Green and Fairbourne had a falling out as teens and never talked since then. The full details will not be revealed until late in the series. In the intervening years, Chloe married a wealthy local politician, whereas Green has worked depressing temp jobs, while caring for her increasingly dementia-plagued mother. Green wanted Fairbourne’s life and weirdly she might just get it.

Under the assumed name of “Sasha Miles,” Green befriends Chloe’s bestie, Livia Fulton. She manages to pass herself off as a gallery marketer, freshly returned from Tokyo, largely relying on the skills she developed as a party-crasher and what she gleans from social media. Soon, she is working with Fulton’s event-marketing firm and sleeping with Elliot Fairbourne, the grieving husband. Rather inconveniently, Josh Stanfield, a one-night-stand from a previously crashed reception, recognizes Green, but he will not blow her cover, as long as he is amused by her masquerade and their periodic hook-ups.

The start-and-stop
Chloe just cannot seem to decide whether it is a thriller or not. At times, it promises to turn into a Brat Farrar-style imposter suspenser and other times it threatens to veer into Sleeping with the Enemy territory, but always returns to mushy melodrama. It is frustrating, because there are times it really appears to be building steam (especially around the second half of episode four), only to deflate sometime thereafter.

Erin Doherty is all kinds of nervous and squirrely as Green/Miles, which certainly fits the character, but makes you wonder why everyone isn’t more suspicious of her. Poppy Gilbert has more screentime than you would expect as the dead title character, but it mostly comes in Instagram posts that morph into fantasies or dream sequences.

Billy Howle is a little too heavy and sour for the supposedly charming Elliot Fairboune. On the other hand, Brandon Michael Hall brings a lot of needed energy and just about all of the humor with his terrific work as Stanfield. Pippa Bennett-Warner also nails the trendy hipster attitude as Fulton.

Green’s highwire act is compelling, but gee whiz, the people she is scamming certainly aren’t very intuitive. Eventually, that gets to be a credibility problem. It also might have helped if the series were more compressed (episodes two and three in particular get a little sluggish). There is some good work on the screen, but
Chloe just isn’t consistent or grabby enough to recommend when it starts streaming today (6/24) on Prime Video.