Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Take Three: Halston

Halston: Season 1, Episode 3 “The Sweet Smell of Success” (B+)

This series isn’t always subtle, and it’s when it makes a particularly moving jump from the unserious to the far more contemplative and meaningful that it really shines. Introducing the perfume bottle as phallic, in David’s words, felt over-the-top and ridiculous, and then Halston threw a tantrum in the meeting when he kept repeating “no” over and over and knocking all of the design concepts onto the floor, which was particularly juvenile. His first meeting with Vera Farmiga’s Adele didn’t seem to go well for her when he refused to put out his cigarette, but he did his homework and brought her exactly what she needed, which included Victor’s jockstrap, a smell she was more than happy to try given that it enabled her to discover what she was looking for all along – a sense of who Halston really was and what mattered to him. Liza’s marriage meant that he lost a true companion, and Elsa wanted to be that and more for him in a way that he wasn’t able to reciprocate. Victor was determined to be seen in public, and Halston didn’t even hesitate for a moment when Ed demanded that he choose between the two of them. Seeing Halston in a commercial felt strange given that he doesn’t usually milk his personality in that way, and it quickly became dizzying to see so many of the exact same version of him hawking items and uttering his name again and again. This is certainly a formidable performance by Ewan McGregor.

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