In Gypsy, predatory therapist Naomi Watts pushes some boundaries


Gypsy, Netflix’s upcoming 10-part psychological thriller, stars Naomi Watts as a therapist who invades her clients’ personal lives.

“There is one force more powerful than free will – our desires,” says Naomi Watts in the official trailer for Netflix’s newest original drama, Gypsy. The Oscar-nominated actress plays therapist Jean Holloway, whose lack of self-control leads her to invade her clients’ personal lives.

The first two episodes will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (infamous director of 50 Shades of Grey) and written by showrunner and executive producer Lisa Rubin. Gypsy will also feature Billy Crudup as Jean’s husband Michael Holloway, Sophie Cookson, Lucy Boynton, and Karl Glusman.

Naomi Watts is no stranger to the thriller genre, breaking out in 2001 in David Lynch’s magnum opus Mulholland Drive, and then becoming famous for playing Rachel Keller in the 2002 horror masterpiece The Ring.  But judging from Gypsy‘s trailer, it seems that her character’s cardinal sin is her sexuality, which rings as a bit of a hollow trope for some.

We’re in the middle of a horror/thriller renaissance. Gypsy feels quite timely. In an age where we give immense trust to mental healthcare professionals, the concept of a therapist with a loose grasp on boundaries is terrifying. Gypsy could go either one of two ways: an exploitative-yet-artsy psychosexual skin flick, or an all-too-rare complex portrait of a female antihero.

I’ll say it as loud as I possibly can: women should be allowed to be as immoral as men. As a culture, we have no trouble imagining a male character manipulating and sexually coercing people who trust him, but we’re still a bit queasy about writing a female villain who would do the same. Some of the best writing is reserved for morally ambiguous “antihero” characters. If Gypsy is about the nuanced “not-quite-a-heroine-but-not-outright-evil-person” that  Naomi Watts has proven herself adept at portraying, then Netflix should have another hit on its hands.

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Gypsy will arrive on Netflix on Friday, June 30.