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Reviews & Ratings for
"Enlightened" More at IMDbPro »

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48 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Watch it!

Author: smirish from United States
10 November 2011

The show is about one very flawed woman's struggle to become a better and healthier person. She's clearly lost, but dedicated and passionate in a way which makes you admire her and be annoyed by her at the same time. The show does a neat trick of manipulating the viewer into alternatively mocking her because of her naivete and flakiness, and cheering for her out of empathy, both back and forth within single episodes. You come to expect her to crash and burn in a tragic and comedic fashion. Yet in the end, she claims small victories of enlightenment that put all of us in touch with our humanity and teach us a little bit about growth. The show is not preachy, yet makes its points poignantly and powerfully.

I'm excited with anticipation as to where the show may go and hope it is renewed despite the poor ratings so far. Definitely my favorite new show of the season.

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33 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Quirky, Raw, Human

Author: monicaduncan from Toronto, Canada
28 November 2011

I'm hoping I'm not the only one out here who loves HBO's Enlightened. While still a bit uneven script to script, Laura Dern and Mike White's show is quirky, funny, irritating, raw, and human - bringing to mind Michael Tolkin's 1994 film, The New Age, minus the corrosive cynicism.

Dern portrays 'seeker' Amy Jellicoe straight up, with all her foibles: unvarnished, selfish, pretentious and trying hard to change. I'm pretty sure most of us get Amy's brand of supercilious self-righteousness, the kind we get when we want so much to change others, while avoiding the change that begins with ourselves. Co-creator Mike White is heartbreakingly sympathetic, hilarious and a great foil for Dern.

Unfortunately Enlightened brings to mind a few other wonderful shows where our imaginary friends disappeared within a season or so: My So Called Life, Beggars and Choosers, Canada's Intelligence, among them. Sometimes the grit is just a little too real, the subject a little too off-beat for mass consumption, with broadcasters not giving a show enough time to find its feet, and audiences robbed of the chance to bond with character.

With apologies to Jimi Hendrix, a toast to Enlightened, 'Let your freak flag fly.'

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22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic... the perfect mix of satire, drama, and dark comedy.

Author: Red_Identity from United States
6 February 2012

I started Enlightened around a week ago, mostly because the Golden Globes put it on the spot. As far as first seasons go, this was an excellent one. It balances comedy and drama extremely well. Some episodes are more dramatic, some more comedic, but it always remains top notch.

Laura Dern in the character of Amy is completely fantastic. She owns this character, which is perhaps one of TV's most fascinating and confusing. Amy has our sympathy, we still want her to succeed, and she always pretty much wants to look at things in a positive way. The problem is though, she isn't the person she wishes. She makes you feel her problems, yet also cringe and shake your head at the way she approaches aspects in her life. She's a good person who wants to do good things, but she can also be extremely selfish and lacks any sort of self-awareness. Even in her most sticky situations, you want to root for her but you see her like many of her co-workers do... in a negative light. Dern sells it all. Diane Ladd is also pretty fantastic as her distant, yet also sympathetic and sometimes infuriating mother. But even she gets her own episode, which is perhaps the show's most touching and dramatic episode.

Overall, this is an excellent mix of drama with both dark and light comedy. I feel it's sort of underrated and has gotten lost among other big-name shows.

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:


Author: Rogue-32 from L A.
11 March 2013

So here we have Mike White doing what he does best: spearheading a project that's one part subversive, one part cynical, one part hopeful and one part lethally and blackly comic.

Enlightened works on many levels because of this but it's also this uber-quirky quality that turns a lot of people who don't have the patience or the understanding of what they're watching off.

Dern's Amy Jellicoe character is not likable, which is a huge gamble from the get-go,especially for a female character; men on TV shows - as in real life - tend to be given far more leeway, to say the least. All the characters on the show are deeply flawed, of course, but these people are not caricatures, they're all three-dimensional and doing the best they can at their respective levels of consciousness.

It's interesting how Amy, beginning in season one, had been trying to find some sort of inner peace but soon as she returns to work at her vile company, that intention flies out the window.Rather than quitting her job, as anyone who genuinely was seeking peace would most likely do, she stays and takes on a new, seemingly better, more 'important' ego identity: agent of change. This is hilarious to me, because in substituting one ego identity for another she is still as lost and as fragmented as she was in the very beginning, if not more so. I'm hoping that White understands this, because I'm not sure how enlightened he actually is(because the actual subject of the title has not been dealt with in anything but superficial terms), but either way it plays as good television.

My favorite episode was the one in season two called The Ghost Is Seen, where White's basically sadsack character Tyler narrates instead of Amy, sharing with the audience about how he feels invisible, how he's lonely, how his life has been empty, until he meets Eileen, played beautifully by the always wonderful Molly Shannon. Ironically, of course - this is a Mike White show, remember - he's in the process of betraying her as they speak, breaking into her computer to get lethally damaging evidence against the company. This episode was brilliantly written and enacted, with White's voice-over narration being profoundly moving.

I only hope he gets a chance for a third season; in light of all the garbage that gets renewed - like Girls, for instance - I think this show warrants another shot, at the very least. UPDATED 3/20/13: Cancelled. Too subversive for HBO, apparently. Not surprised.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Great Show

Author: sukhideol from United Kingdom
27 January 2012

This show was not advertised in the UK, so I stumbled on this by accident and I'm so glad that I did. It is up there as a favourite now.

This show reminds me of Nurse Jackie, another great show, where it allows you to judge whether you think the characters are right/wrong or good/bad - they are not telling you what to think of the characters.

The cast is also great, both Laura Dern and Diane Ladd are fantastic as usual. I'm so pleased they have chosen to do TV because in recent years films have not taken notice of their great talents. Luke Wilson is the best I've ever seen him act. I love the motley crew of people she works with - great acting all round.

Also a TV show where a person actually does a full time job without the job being the main premise of the show.

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28 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

A series that looks good at anger, doubt, uncertainty, and the fight for love and spiritual meaning.

Author: Danny Blankenship from Petersburg, Virginia
24 October 2011

Just been watching this new HBO series "Enlightened" and I must say it's an interesting and raw work from Mike White he shows how life can be depressing and dark with rage and anger. It's clear that most people can relate to this thru their jobs and paying bills, and dealing with relationships as all of this brings stress and uncertainty to most. All of this is showcased thru the life of one middle aged lady Amy(the wonderful Laura Dern(who shares a birthday the same day as me!)she's a woman who's had a nervous and spiritual breakdown.

And Amy is faced with a destructive type of life it all began when she split from her ex husband(Luke Wilson)who's battled his demon with drugs. Also to complicate matters life on the job sucks as after 15 years she's been demoted to a lower level computer programming job in the basement of the company! As she watched how others have slimmed, lied, and slept their way up the ladder. As Amy's mind feels the rage and anger toward her co workers anytime she has thoughts of them.

Not all is lost still Amy is a productive citizen who still fights for joy and peace by trying to do the right thing by looking out for others and her character always tries to do things for humanity. She gets much advice and support from her mother(Diane Ladd who's Laura's real life mother) who she lives with. Overall this is a series that's a little dark with drama and blended well with anger and sadness as it proves life is always uncertain with a challenge ahead. Still the lead character Amy fights for what's right and to be at peace with life and people in a spiritual manner. Overall good interesting new series.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A frustrating experience that does have its rewards...somewhere

Author: Murli from Bermuda
19 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wanted to see this series solely for Laura Dern. The first episode seemed okay. A woman has a meltdown at work after finding out that the boss she was having an affair with was transferring her out of her department. So she goes away to a retreat, fixes herself, and comes back to find that her old job has been filled, and she's got a new the basement of the company working with computers.

I thought that the story would develop as I got deeper into the series but that's where I was wrong. The series deals with Amy and her issues and we're left wondering if her Hawaiian retreat actually helped her or not. Each episode, with the exception of the second last one, deal's with one of Amy's hangups and I was starting to get frustrated with it.

Laura Dern does a good job as a wacky person who just can't see past herself. She's her own worst enemy, choosing to ignore what's right in front of her face, deal with her predicament and move on and do something about it. I was getting fed up of seeing her continually go back to her old floor and try to confide in Krista, one of two characters (besides Janice) whom I found two faced and really despised.

Thankfully, the last episode sort of made up for most of the series and I'm interested in seeing where Amy goes with her new found power. As long as the series gets another shot. Aside from Laura Dern, the whole cast that makes up the Cogentiva floor is well cast and funny, with each person contributing to the weirdness that makes up the DNA of a basement floor worker. Timm Sharp as the politically incorrect, nerdish, loutish, priggish head is very funny. Mike White also deserves a mention because he says a lot more with his quiet demeanour and smile than with any dialogue (but I had to laugh at his hack in password!).

All in all, I'd recommend it but bear in mind that Amy is highly annoying and frustrating most of the times but there are lucid moments when she gets the picture and you think there is hope for her after all.

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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

It gets better and more addictive by each episode

Author: catalinignat from Romania
28 February 2012

Very surprised by show's rating, gave it 10 to even score a bit. Lucky HBO did broadcasting it, otherwise based on IMDb rating shall had never watch it.

This show starts slow, and, as others have written, a bit confusing, not knowing what bread it is. But it grows in me by each episode, becoming addictive by having an unique mix of creativity, human nature sincere exposure, and lot of common sense. Very much liked the non-intrusive way of telling a story of a personality which, although is not of my taste at all, manages to make me sympathize with, and perhaps understand and accept.

Well done.

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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Accept what you cannot change and change what you can

Author: dryan-14 from Canada
25 December 2011

Enlightened is about a woman who was unable to cope with a series of accumulated stresses in her life and decided to seek treatment. She returns to her life with a new awareness and feels compelled to share and engage people in that awareness to effect positive change around her, but she finds herself running up against resistance due to fear of change. The people around her are all coping with stress in their lives in various other ways. It's about confronting the loneliness and isolation that you can feel when your perspective differs from those around you, and how that loneliness is at odds with your desire to connect, help, and heal those around you. At the end of the day it's about the serenity prayer, about Amy learning the wisdom to know the difference between what she can change, and what she can't. A lot of mistakes are made in the process, but her heart is in the right place, and any introspective viewer will be able to relate to the struggle. I highly recommend it.

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Strangely addicting

Author: Jim Powell from United States
29 December 2011

I read somewhere that this show was one of the best new shows of the year, so I started watching it on demand. I find it to be a very interesting mix of humor, drama, and intrigue. Laura Dern is great as an almost completely unpredictable person. It's almost scary to say that her character is like more than a few people I've met in my life.

This show covers work, home, friends, and life matters in a pretty realistic way. As in life, sometimes it's the verbal and sometimes it's the nonverbal communication that conveys the best message. The actors are doing a great job with the material, and I'm now on episode 7 and the show feels like it's getting even more interesting. I have to say, I'm pretty addicted to wanting to get to know these people more...and seeing where it all goes.

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