A&E: The ACT: A Life of Lies Exposed

By Zoe Rosenblum ’21

Published on May 13, 2019

Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette), Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King) shown. (Photo by: Brownie Harris / Hulu)

Hulu announced a year ago they were coming out with a mini series based on the true life story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s life story has fascinated me for years, so I knew I had to watch this recreation of her life.

Her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, suffered from a disease called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, which according to the Michigan Medicine website, “is a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability.”

Dee Dee, played by Patricia Arquette, convinces doctors that Gypsy has many chronic conditions that all turn out to be a scam to get money. Arquette convinces the audience of this too and the viewer can’t help but feel that all she is doing is looking out for her daughter.

Arquette does a fabulous job of embodying a woman who appeared grateful and needy, but on the inside was a master scammer.

The makeup on Arquette is exquisite: she looks like two different people from the time she becomes a mom to the day she is murdered. She goes from having glowing skin and luscious brunette hair to a face full of wrinkles and a head of gray, kinky curls.

In the mini series, Joey King plays Gypsy Blanchard. Gypsy is submissive to her mother throughout her entire life and King captures this nature of Gypsy perfectly. The shakiness in her voice makes the viewer scared for her and the amount of trust stripped away from her when she starts to figure out her life has been a lie is so raw.

The viewer sees King take Gypsy from an innocent and naive girl to a vengeful and ultimately abandoned woman.

Everything – from King’s voice to her teeth – resemble Gypsy perfectly in real life and make the viewer feel as if they are part of the story. King even raises her voice a few octaves to match Gypsy’s shrill tone.

Gypsy’s boyfriend, Godejohn, is played by Calum Worthy. Godejohn has multiple personality disorder, and Worthy does an amazing job of making this condition part of his character. It is the driving force of why he commits the murder in the first place, and Worthy lets that part of his character drive him to be the man Gypsy falls in love with.

The set of this show is incredible. The pictures of the real house that the Blanchards scammed their way into was shockingly similar to the one built for the show. It feels as if they copied every detail from the original house onto the set.

The exterior of the house is the same hue of pink and features an identical wheelchair ramp leading to the front door. The wheelchair ramp is a necessity to the story because it introduces the viewer to a disabled, young Gypsy. It sets her up to look weak, when she is really building up the courage every time she wheels over that ramp to leave her abusive mother.