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Enlightened - Complete HBO Season 1 [DVD] 
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An HBO® original series from creators Mike White and Laura Dern, Enlightened stars Dern in her Golden Globe®-winning role as Amy Jellicoe, who comes home to California after a stay at a holistic treatment facility, the result of having a mental breakdown at work triggered by her self-destructive ways. Amy returns to her old life with a new cultivated approach and perspective, involving daily meditation and inner healing. She moves in temporarily with her somewhat estranged mother (Diane Ladd, Dern’s real-life mom), and reconnects with her ex-husband, Levi (Luke Wilson), who is struggling with his own demons and addictions. Amy is rehired at Abaddonn Industries, but assigned to a demeaning position. There Amy uncovers corporate abuse and corruption that fuels her quest to make a change in the lives of others. But although Amy wants to be an “agent of change” in the world, those who know her best are skeptical of her latest intentions
A devoted focus on an enigmatic, dynamic, yet seriously damaged female lead is the absorbing narrative focus of Enlightened. Laura Dern plays Amy Jellicoe, a high-powered executive at a soulless high-tech consumer products corporation who has a high-end freak-out at work after the dissolution of a disastrous affair with her married boss. The title and premise reveal themselves in nifty short order after this jarring prologue as Amy retreats to a specialized rehab facility in Hawaii, where she finds peace, tranquility, and a spiritual center that she brings back to her corporate world and the many stressors that are the result of Amy being Amy. The premiere episode packs a lot into 30 minutes, as does each subsequent installment by doling out backstory details about Amy's life pre- and post-meltdown. One of the triumphs of the absorbing mix of comedy and seriousness in Enlightened is the fact that its satirical core remains separate from its genuinely affecting character details and too-close-for-comfort observations about modern life. Though she appears to have made an honest change in her spiritual world, Amy is still deeply screwed up. The interactions that unfold with her family and coworkers continually try her newfound sense of well-being, illustrating that everyone's grasp of reality is always tenuous and subjective regardless of any sense of personal enlightenment. Amy's snippets of narration play like a self-help regimen aimed directly at the viewers; her affirmations are not just for her own benefit, they're also meant to bring us into the fold on her ongoing quest for illumination. "You can change," she says to herself, "and you can be an agent of change." Are you listening?
Enlightened was developed (along with Dern) and written by Mike White, who also plays one of Amy's coworkers, Tyler, a marginally creepy, socially challenged misfit she gets stuck with in the bowels of a corporate IT hellhole. White has created a number of intriguing pieces of work as a writer, director, and actor (The Good Girl, Chuck and Buck, School of Rock, and episodes of Freaks and Geeks among them). His off-kilter sensibility is at its peak in Enlightened, which is restricted and enhanced by the concision of its format and the pithy fine points of plot that are simultaneously amusing, disturbing, and spot-on in their observational tone. The cast also includes Diane Ladd as Helen, Amy's mother (Dern's too), who's bewildered and more than a little exasperated when Amy moves in with her ready to heal something that Helen wants to stay broken. Luke Wilson plays Amy's ex-husband Levi, a man-child in love with drugs who Amy also wants to help by providing healing that he doesn't really want. All of these people and the many other characters in Amy's life that the show deftly introduces and weaves into its dramatic structure mostly keep their own counsel---just like people in the real world do. But when they talk it's important to listen closely. The 10 brisk episodes continue to reveal more about them all as the web of Amy's connections and the roots of her psychic vision quest unravels. Enlightened is the kind of show that requires active viewing and demands that attention be paid in order to get up to speed with its conceptual centre. But once hooked, nirvana in the form of a half-hour TV show is not far behind. --Ted FrySee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Now this kinda thing can only succeed, be funny etc when it's played convincingly, by somebody that gets you to like her, even if she's not all that likeable/together, even neurotic. Laura Dern does all that. The rest of the neurotic cast incl. her druggy ex Luke Wilson and creepy colleague Mike White help her aceiving that.
I enjoyed this so much more than the overhyped "girls".
Looking forward to the second series.
Most recent customer reviews
I didn't know what to expect when I started watching it and ended up so enjoying it.Read more
HBO is the only company that produces shows like this, shame it was only two series but they are...Read more