“The Crowded Room” is a limited series on Apple TV that explores mental illness but falls short in its execution. The plot follows Danny Sullivan, a traumatized teenager played by Tom Holland, who lives with his mother and abusive stepfather in upstate New York. Danny’s struggles with anxiety and socializing lead him to move in with a neighbor, Ariana, and their lives become entangled with a criminal incident.
The series introduces Doctor Rya Goodwin, a psychology professor played by Amanda Seyfried, who is called in to understand Danny’s condition for his trial defense. However, her character is characterized by trite feminist tropes and lacks depth. The show’s production elements, such as cinematography and score, try to create a dramatic impact but often come across as melodramatic.
Tom Holland delivers a strong performance, showcasing his talent and range as an actor. However, the problem lies in the choice of projects, as “The Crowded Room” fails to transcend the bounds of artistic imagination and remains overly dark. The show attempts to incorporate elements of hope but falls short, robbing the story of its honesty.
While there is potential for a universal story about the failures of the social safety net and the struggles faced by vulnerable groups, the series fails to deliver. Dialogue is left unexplained, the visual aesthetics are inconsistent, and Hollywood clichés of mental health are used. The series also takes an unreasonable approach in depicting the treatment of mentally ill individuals in the criminal justice system.
In conclusion, “The Crowded Room” is a disappointing exploration of mental illness that lacks depth and fails to deliver a compelling narrative. Despite the strong performances from Tom Holland and Amanda Seyfried, the show’s execution, including its writing and production elements, falls short of its potential.