The OA is a mind-bending gem that is powerful and devastating.
The OA is a Netflix Original psychological fantasy science fiction drama with beautiful imagery and a smart compelling tale of mystery and weird fiction of cosmic proportions. It’s an intriguing tale about the power of storytelling, about trauma, about making a real meaningful connection and rising above oneself. It’s a tale full of mystery, that is enveloped with powerful emotions. While it plays out in the real world it transcends the psychical world, to become a symbol and a metaphysical story about who we are and above that, what lies beneath who we are. While it might be hard to grasp because it touches only the surface of reality in a philosophical way, thanks to the amazing storytelling it reels you in and is understandable on a visceral and emotional level. It will for sure move you.
This first season consists of 8 episodes with each a duration of 31-71 minutes. It has a continuous storyline with flashbacks that tell the story of an extraordinary woman.
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Prairie Johnson has been missing for 7 seven when she suddenly appears when she wants to jump off a bridge. But the strangest part is that she can see, after being blind for 20 years. Her adoptive parents Nancy and Abel try to cope with her return and to help her, but Prairie has other things on her mind. When she meets a couple of teenagers in the neighborhood and their teacher, she tells only to them her amazing story. What happened to her the last 7 years, where she was and that she needs to find someone. Alfonso ‘French’ Sosa, Steve Winchell, Buck Vu, Jesse and their teacher Elizabeth ‘BBA’ Broderick-Allen all are misfits and struggle with their own problems. But due to Prairie’s story they find comfort and strength with each other, changing their lives forever.
Why you should watch it
The OA is a series with an exceptional tale that goes beyond everything you have ever seen. It has such an emotional depth that it reaches out to your heart, moving you in an intense way. Just like Prairie or OA does with her five new friends. It’s her story of her kidnapping by a doctor who wanted to create a portal to another dimension. A ritual is needed performed by five people. They have to act out five movements synchronically like a dance that can transport you to another world. While this is only a story OA tells them, she also learns them these movements.
Her story and what she went through, her imprisonment with four others and the loss of her true love Homer whom she wants to find and finally her escape, are an emotional rollercoaster. But that is just a part of her story. Originally she came from Russia but almost died or maybe she did die after the school bus had an accident killing all the other children. That’s when she went blind and after that incident she was brought to America and adopted by Nancy and Abel. That was only the beginning of her journey.
Her journey feels like a fairytale, a transcending story about a normal girl who became something more. And in exchange for her newly gained power to perform the ritual to travel between dimensions and her life, she had to give up her sight.
While the story plays out in the real world with a real kidnapper and real people who were imprisoned with OA, it’s a very surreal story and highly symbolic. It’s about the power of stories‚ how they connect people and help people understand each other. But it’s also about accepting who you are, finding your own identity and finding strength in yourself with the help of others. The movements are physical acts to not only create a portal to another dimension but to set them free to travel wherever they want. By performing it together it shows that strength lies in numbers. OA is creating a deep connection between the group of five and that manifests itself in the final episode, where OA’s story proves to be true and the bond between them proves to be more powerful than any evil.
The OA is emotionally and visually very impressive and the storytelling is stunning. You can’t but love the five misfits and OA. You can feel their joy, their pain, their struggle and what they each are going through becomes epic. The cinematography is amazing. The plane where young OA loses her sight and regains her life is wonderfully magical. The story itself feels real and surreal at the same time and makes you wonder if OA is crazy or traumatized, if she makes it all up or if it’s all real and will change the world. The series is mesmerizing and accompanied by beautiful music, in which OA playing the violin is an important part.
This series is nothing like you ever seen before or maybe never will again. It is poetic, heartwarming, heartbreaking, magical and symbolic but above all it is about real people with problems, to which people who don’t fit in can relate to. That’s what makes this series extra special.
My favorite part
The last episode when all the movements, and the group of five all come together in a heartbreaking epic moment is the most compelling and emotional scene I have ever seen. When BBA realizes what’s going on and she utters: ‘My boys’ it’s so powerful and gripping. Even thinking about it makes me emotional again and bring tears to my eyes. It’s the epiphany of pure true friendship that goes even much further than that.
Epic factor: ★★★★★
Drama factor: ★★★★★
Surreal factor: ★★★★★
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
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Cast and crew
The OA is created by Britt Marling and Zal Batmanglij. It stars Britt Marling (Prairie/OA), Emory Cohen (Homer), Phyllis Smith (Betty Broderick-Allen, BBA), Patrick Gibson (Steve Winchell), Brendan Meyer (Jesse), Brandon Perea (Alfonso ‘French’ Sosa), Ian Alexander (Buck Vu), Alice Krige (Nancy Johnson), Scott Wilson (Abel Johnson) and Jason Isaacs (Dr Hunter Aloysius ‘Hap’ Percy).
Music: Rostam Batmanglij, Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans, Jay Wadley. Cinematography: Lol Crawly. Production company: Plan B Entertainment, Anonymous Content, Netflix. Original network: Netflix.