×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Top of the Lake’ Season 2: 5 Things to Expect From ‘China Girl’

Top of the Lake: China Girl” got the Cannes Film Festival treatment on Tuesday with a six-episode marathon screening that had a packed house of cinephiles enjoying some binge TV on the big screen.

The twisty thriller from co-directors Jane Campion and Ariel Kleiman boasts another knockout turn by Elisabeth Moss as Detective Robin Griffin and stellar work from Nicole Kidman as a mother dealing with a volatile teenage daughter. There’s also plenty of surprises, gorgeous cinematography, a compelling Australian urban backdrop, and a mystery that keeps audiences guessing until the credits roll on the final episode. Fans of the 2013 original won’t be disappointed when the second season airs in the U.S. on Sundance this September.

Without spoiling the big reveals, here are five things to expect from “Top of the Lake’s” return.

1. Robin is in a very bad place

It’s been four years since the events of “Top of the Lake,” and time has not healed Robin’s wounds. When the second series begins, she’s trying to recover from a breakup with her caddish fiancé, tossing back one six pack after another, struggling to get her career back on track after taking a break from the force, suffering from nightmares, and barreling toward a breakdown. Things are not going well.

She’s also dealing with the guilt from having given up a daughter for adoption 17 years ago. Her efforts to get back in touch with the child she could not raise help set the plot in motion.

2. A whole new setting

The first season took place in a remote corner of New Zealand. The forests and mountain ranges were almost another character. Here, the setting shifts to Sydney — a city of skyscrapers, slums, cliffs, freeways, and sandy beaches. The move gives “China Girl” a grittier, noir-ish feel that keeps it fresh.

3. It’s dark … very dark

Oh boy, does “China Girl” go to some bleak places. There are prostitution rings, illegal surrogacies, graphic autopsies, a dead woman’s corpse stuck in a suitcase, and the creepiest boyfriend ever put on screen (apologies to David Dencik, who plays the kind of older suitor that keeps parents up at night). There’s some mordant wit, to be sure, but “China Girl” is not for the faint of stomach.

4. Elisabeth Moss and Gwendoline Christie have the best chemistry

Moss has to deliver the kind of emotional pyrotechnics that win Emmys, but Christie steals the show as her awkward, hero-worshipping partner. She gets the best lines and delivers the biggest laughs. It’s a refreshing change of pace for Christie, best known for her work as a morally upstanding knight on “Game of Thrones.” She’s yin to Moss’ yang. Get these women a buddy comedy!

5. It’s all about the gender politics

Like “Prime Suspect” before it, “China Girl” is as much a “who done it” as it is an examination of workplace sexism. Robin Griffin is as good a detective as any man in her squad, but she has to deal with unwanted advances from co-workers and macho snickering when she tries to assert her authority. The film isn’t just concerned with that kind of casual discrimination. It also looks at violence toward women in other forms, from sex trafficking to rape to prostitution. Despite that dark subject matter, at its core, “China Girl” is about motherhood — the bonds between a parent and a child, and the aching need to love and be loved.

Most detective stories are about men, this one’s told from the women’s point of view. It makes a difference.

More Film

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • Bruce Dern

    Film News Roundup: Bruce Dern's 'The Lears' Bought by Vertical for February Release

    In today’s film news roundup, Bruce Dern’s “The Lears” and “Angels Are Made of Light” are acquired, Cold War drama “Stanley Cage” is launched and a documentary about Madonna’s early music career gets a release. ACQUISITIONS Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights from NeoClassics Films to “The Lears,” starring Bruce Dern in a modern-day [...]

  • Octavia Spencer Bryce Dallas Howard

    Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard to Reunite for Comedy 'Fairy Tale Ending'

    Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard will reunite for the ensemble comedy “Fairy Tale Ending.” Jim Hecht (“Ice Age: The Meltdown) and Tracy McMillan (“Marvel’s Runaways”) are writing the screenplay. Howard will also produce the Universal movie through her Nine Muses Entertainment alongside Eric Carlson and Susan Carlson. Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins will produce [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]

  • 'Ghostbusters': First Look at Jason Reitman's

    Watch the First Teaser for Jason Reitman's 'Ghostbusters' Sequel

    If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, it’s time to watch a teaser for Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters” forthcoming film. Sony Pictures released a first look at the upcoming movie, a sequel to the 1984 classic. The footage shows a glimpse of the memorable station wagon Ecto-1. The studio announced on Tuesday that the wheels are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content