Daily O

Netflix’s Maniac: In an eerie, quixotic tale of mental illness, a message of hope

The show has two important messages — that cure lies in human connections, and that there is no shortcut for it.

When Cervantes wrote what is considered the most modern novel of all time, Don Quixote (1615), he had confessed Quixote’s insanity right at the onset of his work. The scene where Quixote perceives windmills as gigantic monsters is a case in point; though later on, it becomes clearer to the reader that the author shuffles Quixote’s characterisation from sane to insane, thereby creating a highly intellectual muddle. Is it madness or is it a performance of the same?

don quixote fights windmills: insanity, or its performance? Don Quixote fights windmills: Insanity, or its performance? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Somewhat similar was my confusion in Cary Fukunaga’s newly released Netflix show, . Its characters reference Cervantes’ book at several parts in the story; it holds the key to understanding much of their lonely cerebral journey. Starring some excellent actors like Emma Stone, Justin Theroux and Jonah Hill, Maniac is that “trip” which everyone is sorting out (in their heads) right now. It has left most of us confused, a little dizzy, but we are not surprised anymore...not quite.

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