Based on the hit novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Daisy Jones and the Six is a limited series for Amazon Prime Video. The story is meant to read like a true retelling of the rise and fall of a major band of the 1970s (think Fleetwood Mac) but is intriguingly a work of total fiction. Reid is a master at this format also penning the critically acclaimed, Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. But can her innovative writing style translate on screen?
The Conservative Critic Asks: Is it entertaining? Does it have artistic/intellectual value? Is it liberal propaganda?
The Conservative Critic Meter Check: Daisy Jones and the Six
Overall Rating: Good, true to source material
Daisy Jones and the Six is very faithful to Reid’s material which is perhaps the best choice it could make. The interview concept for a fake documentary is a charming structure akin to When Harry Met Sally and helps viewers stay interested by having some minor level of omniscience as though Daisy Jones and the Six really is a band whose outcome is well known by all.
The cinematography is beautiful. The show opts for all to show the 1970s in the sepia of memory all honey colored and golden from the sun. Smokey like the bars the show’s heroes are playing. Other nostalgic films of its kind have missed the mark on the portrayal of the objectively hideous era of colors, patterns and fashions.
The performances are stellar from the always spot on and underappreciated Sam Claftin as Billy Dunne to the newcomers like Camila Morrone who is so intoxicating on screen viewers will swear they know her from something.
While the film, as with all films on Rock and Roll, celebrates a certain drug and alcohol riddled bohemia which is definitely a liberal utopia, it also highlights the drawbacks in a fair contrast.
Overall, Daisy Jones and the Six is a solid watch especially for those who are a fan of the book or of Reid in general.
Is it entertaining?
Daisy Jones and the Six is a character drama based on a novel and as such there aren’t a lot of car chases or explosions. But the story is interesting and it intrigues viewers by reminding them of true stories from their lives, real bands that they remember. The way the first three episodes give the full back story of the Six and separately the backstory of Daisy Jones until the fateful day they meet, leaves viewers eager to see how they end up one band and how it all rises and falls so quickly.
Daisy Jones and the Six sucks viewers in and keeps them waiting for the weekly installment.
Does it have artistic/intellectual value?
Rating: Carefully and artfully crafted
The showrunners, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber are well known for their work on The Spectacular Now, The Fault in our Stars and 500 Days of Summer. They are perhaps the two perfect individuals to bring to life a “manic pixie dream girl” but this time they blur some of the dreamy lines. Daisy Jones, played by Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road), is teetering quite a bit on manic and less so on dreams as does Billy Dunne played by Sam Claftin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
The performances are across the board stellar, a true ensemble. Claftin once again delivers as an angsty wannabe rock star with demons of his own creation. Camila Morrone has Camila Dunne as the personification of grace. Morrone brings to life a woman who knows what she deserves and takes a little less anyway. It’s a heartbreaking performance. Also worth mentioning is Tom Wright as the no-nonsense music producer, Teddy Price. Wright brings such a stable believability to the story. He really suits the era and totally envelopes the music man persona.
The one performance that could be stronger is Keough as Daisy Jones herself. There is a sharpness missing from her character that the material insists upon but is not shown by Keough. Her Jones is a bit toothless which is clearly not inline with the script or with the spirit of the story. It’s by no means a disaster, it’s just a little vanilla.
Overall Daisy Jones and the Six seems carefully crafted and like the showrunners take care to show the 1970s music scene in the thickest syrup of nostalgia they could muster and they are very loyal to the source material of the brilliant Reid.
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: Celebrates bohemia, but also doesn’t
The idea that art is made better by sex, drugs, alcohol and other destructive behaviors (or that those behaviors are not intrinsically destructive) is definitely from the page of liberal utopia. Daisy Jones and the Six definitely celebrates the boozy, weed scented lifestyle of professional music. However, it also draws contrast by showing the drawbacks of that lifestyle. Some characters suffer addiction and major personal setbacks due to addiction. Some are much happier in a safer, more stable life. Daisy Jones and the Six definitely gives the push and pull of the bohemian artist enough so that the two messages neutralize each other.
Daisy Jones and the Six is a good watch for fans of character dramas, period pieces or of Taylor Jenkins Reid. The performances are strong, the material is loyal and the visuals are honey colored memories.