‘The Miniaturist’ Review: PBS’ Dollhouse Drama Is a Haunting and Exquisitely Crafted Surprise

Two weeks after HBO’s Southern gothic thriller “Sharp Objects” revealed its twisted ending, another drama featuring a dollhouse is opening its doors to welcome viewers into a meticulously crafted world. “The Miniaturist,” based on Jessie Burton’s novel of the same name, is PBS’ three-part adaptation that satisfies the “Masterpiece” aesthete’s hunger for beautiful visuals, lavish costuming, and mesmerizing performances.

Set in the 17th century, “The Miniaturist” follows Petronella “Nella” Oortman (“The Witch” and “Split” star Anya Taylor-Joy), a wide-eyed 18-year-old from Assendelft, who has traveled to Amsterdam to join the household of her new husband, Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell). On the surface, it appears to be the usual sort of marriage contract: She and her family benefit from his wealth and status, while he receives a youthful bride to help continue the Brandt line and look pretty while doing it. The latter, in fact, appears to be
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Anya Taylor-Joy on ‘The Miniaturist’, ‘Glass’, and ‘New Mutants’ Reshoots

Based on the novel by Jessie Burton, the three-part mini-series The Miniaturist (airing in the U.S. on Masterpiece on PBS) is set in 1686 and follows 18-year-old Petronella Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy), or Nella, who shows up in Amsterdam with hopes of dreams of beginning a new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell). But after meeting his cold sister (Romola Garai) and their servants and realizing just how many secrets they’re all hiding, and receiving a wedding gift that is a miniature replica of their …
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TV Review: ‘The Miniaturist’ on PBS

  • Variety
A solid edition of the PBS “Masterpiece” lineup tends to indulge some combination of the following: a plucky heroine, a secretly soft hero, a compelling romance and/or mystery, and a lush period backdrop to set it all off. “The Miniaturist” — based on Jessie Burton’s 2014 novel — technically works well as the latest entry, traveling back to 1686 Amsterdam for a tale laced with secrecy, intrigue, and even a hint of supernatural subterfuge. It features a determined heroine in teen bride Nella, sent to live in a new home with a rich and broody new husband Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell), his wary sister Marin (Romola Garai), and a pair of servants — surly Cornelia (Hayley Squires) and loyal Otto (Paapa Essiedu) — who know much more about all of the above than they initially let on.

But things only start to take off once Johannes gifts Nella with a dollhouse modeled after her new home,
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Exclusive Interview: Alex Hassell on his role in the BBC’s big Christmas drama The Miniaturist

Author: Linda Marric

From his unforgettable turn as Louis, a small time crook turned murderer in George Clooney’s Suburbicon, to his imminent role as Johannes Brandt in the BBC’s adaptation of Jesse Burton’s best selling novel The Miniaturist, 2017 has been a rather busy year for Alex Hassell. Known primarily for his theatrical roles, first as part of the RSC and later within his own theatre company The Factory, the actor has until now remained largely unknown to the general public, but things are about to change, much to the delight of those who have championed his theatrical output for the last few years.

A few days ago, we were lucky enough to speak to Alex about his upcoming role in The Miniaturist, and about his experiences of working in Hollywood on a production such as Suburbicon, and how that differs from his life as a theatre actor.
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