Eliza Scanlen, take a bow. You earned it.
It’s been two days since the finale of Sharp Objects and the only thing on my mind is Eliza Scanlen, who played Amma Crellin in the HBO series. Those final five minutes provided one of the biggest twists I can remember.
*This is your warning. If you have not seen the finale of Sharp Objects, stop reading now. Spoilers are coming.*
The dollhouse. What a moment in television history. When Camille picks up the tooth and looks in Amma’s dollhouse bedroom, my jaw dropped. I gasped when I saw the floor was made up of teeth from Natalie Keene, Ann Nash, and potentially the latest victim, Mae. Adora Crellin may have killed her daughter, Marian Crellin, but it was Amma who killed Natalie, Ann, and Mae. Unlike Adora, who killed Marian via Munchausen syndrome by proxy, Amma was a stone cold killer who brutally murdered innocent children and removed their teeth. Taking a page out of Marvel’s playbook, after the abrupt ending, the mid-credit scene displayed how Amma murdered the three girls (with the help of her roller skating buddies for Natalie and Ann) and the post-credit scene portrayed how Amma was the “Woman In White,” who lured the girls into the woods.
There are so many things you can discuss about the ending of Sharp Objects. You can go back and try to find clues that hinted at Amma being the killer. However, I want to use this time to praise the actress who played Amma, Eliza Scanlen. With only a few acting credits to her name, it’s safe to say that studios will be lining up to hire Scanlen after a spectacular performance. The 19-year-old Australian actress not only held her own with Amy Adams, but surpassed her in overall performance. Scanlen was so good in auditions that Amy Adams said she was “jealous of her confidence.”
What stands out in Scanlen’s performance was her ability to change the narrative of Amma’s personality each episode. When she was with Adora, Amma was a sweet, somewhat innocent girl who only wanted to make her mother happy. When she was out of the house, a switch flipped. The innocent girl was rowdy, manipulative, and controlling. We later found out that there was another dimension of aggression and rage that made her deadly. Scanlen was the hypnotist of the show, drawing the audience in with every breath as her character begins to unravel. I can’t get her “killing face” out of my head. It is an image that will forever be in my mind.
Scanlen’s supporting performance reminds me of how I feel about Ann Dowd’s performance in The Handmaid’s Tale. Most of the praise will go to Elisabeth Moss and Amy Adams (and rightfully so) as the leads of each show, but Dowd and Scanlen are the performances that I will remember the most. I expect Scanlen to receive supporting nominations at close to every awards show. Whether Scanlen wins is yet to be determined, but she deserves to be in the discussion.
Eliza Scanlen, your career is about to skyrocket.