Unbelievable Season 1 Review: This Is Important

By Daniel Hart
Published: September 13, 2019 (Last updated: December 4, 2023)
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Unbelievable Netflix Series


Netflix Series Unbelievable is one of the most important stories to arrive on the major streaming platform, providing clarity and education surrounding sexual assault victims.

Netflix Series Unbelievable is not only a true story, but it’s also societally important. We often see in the news rape cases that are dismissed or evolve into nationwide stories, that feed a particular group of men that have this horrifying belief that accusations are getting out of hand. It’s a saddening shame that areas of our society do not believe rape should be talked about more, but if there is ever a dramatised story to highlight what a sexual assault survivor goes through, then Unbelievable is an education.

The story follows Marie (Kaitlyn Dever), a teenager growing up in foster care, and one night she was raped in her apartment. In the opening episode, Marie is traumatised by the events; having to repeat her story over and over again, and follow police and medical processes to open the case. If anything, the opening episode is likely to be the most critical chapter of the Netflix series, as it unearths the rest of the story. Marie is perceived to have lied about her rape, due to her background, and psychological assessments.

Which brings me on to my next point; this notion that a rape victim should act a certain way after experiencing something horrific is irrefutably wrong. There is no scientific or proven way to predict the behavior of a sexual assault survivor, and Unbelievable hones in on that aspect early on; the Netflix series desperately wants the audience to understand the variables and the trauma caused for millions of victims around the world.

The remaining premise of Unbelievable deals with the consequences of Marie’s “lie”; the struggles from the fallout from her retraction, but the story comes alight when we are introduced to Detective Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) and Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette) after a similar rape case comes to the surfaces years later.

Unbelievable has its own unique direction to highlight the mental pressure that occurs when a victim is trying to voice their story. In the case of Marie, the cameras are positioned in such a way that makes the investigators feel larger and aggressive, closing in on Marie to make her feel claustrophobic and pressured to buckle and remove her version of events.

The performances are brilliant; Kaitlyn Dever and Toni Collette observedly buy into the true story, investing one of their career bests to ensure viewers are well-informed. Netflix Series Unbelievable is not your typical “weekend” drama — it’s a show that will emotionally grab you and give you valuable perspective.

However, I would advise, if you are a sexual assault survivor, watch Unbelievable with close family and friends and be wary of the subject matter. It is uncomfortable to watch, and Netflix smartly inserts a warning at the start. If you genuinely believe that this type of story will affect you, I’d highly advise strongly considering whether to watch it.

You can read the recap of Episode 1 by clicking these words.

Netflix, TV Reviews
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