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Amazon Prime‘s latest series Z: The Beginning of Everything starring Christina Ricci and David Hoflin, is based on the life of Zelda Sayre (Ricci), whom you’d probably know better as Zelda Fitzgerald, aka the wife and muse of Scott Fitzgerald (Hoflin).

We’re first introduced to a free-spirited Zelda, at constant odds with her disciplinarian father (David Strathairn) and his Southern values. Raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda is far from a southern belle; she is too big, too bold, too modern and too bright for her buttoned-up town. When she meets Scott, he is a low-level Army officer who is about to be shipped off to France , he claims endlessly that  “I’m gonna be a famous writer someday!”

He was right but just as fast as fame came, it goes. After the success of first novel, This Side of Paradise, Scott has writers block as he’s pressured to write another novel. Zelda soon realizes that her marriage is as much a trap as it is an opportunity.

Z moves quickly but not without a few slow episodes. The parties are fun and keep the story moving. After all- at a Fitzgerald party, anything goes: bare breasts, gay sex, threesomes in the middle of a crowded beach backyard. However, no amount of confetti will make Leo’s Gatsby this fun.

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But the heart of the series is Zelda and Scott’s marriage — a  tumultuous roller coaster fueled by alcohol, mental illness, and jealousy. The series gradually reveals the different but incessantly selfish ways Scott is dependent on Zelda, as well as the crucial secrets he keeps from her. (Much like that of his own Jay Gatsby).

Ricci is great as always (if you haven’t seen the short-lived The Lizzie Borden Chronicles or Pan Am, do that now) and continues to prove that period pieces are her forte.

Even after just 10 episodes, audiences see Zelda’s many sacrifices for the man she loves even though there’s still so much of their story to be told.

3.5/5 stars

 

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