Amazon’s Psychological Thriller Chloe Is a Riveting Twist on the Scammer Show

2 minute read

Becky Green doesn’t want to be Becky Green anymore. And who could blame her? The protagonist of Chloe, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is a study in abjection. Played with protean inscrutability by Erin Doherty (The Crown’s Princess Anne), Becky works a demeaning temp job and lives in a shabby apartment with a mother (Lisa Palfrey) who’s sinking into early-onset dementia. Social media is her escape. She scrolls endlessly through posts by a childhood friend, Chloe Fairbourne (Poppy Gilbert), who lives a glamorous life surrounded by her ascendant-politician husband (Billy Howle) and a tight clique of photogenic bourgeois-bohemian pals.

Then Chloe dies, in an apparent suicide, and Becky discovers that one of the last things her estranged pal did was try to call. Using internet research to fake her way into fancy events, Becky reinvents herself as Sasha Miles, an art-world type fresh off a stint in Tokyo, and infiltrates her late friend’s inner circle. In this perfectly paced psychological thriller, all it takes to blend in is a posh accent, keen social media stalking skills, and a lot of nerve.

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Will Becky get found out? The suspense generated by that question alone would be enough to propel viewers through the show’s six tightly edited episodes. What elevates Chloe above the typical prestige mystery is the care it takes in concealing not just the events of the title character’s final night on earth, but also Becky’s own motives. Is she investigating Chloe’s death, or is she indulging a long-running fantasy of becoming Chloe? Is she a heartless opportunist, or is she simply a broken person seeking justice in the only way she knows how?

The story takes some genuinely unexpected, yet never ridiculous, turns, each one grounded in Becky’s evolving relationships with Howle’s Elliot, Chloe’s queen-bee best friend Livia (Pippa Bennett-Warner), and their musician buddy Richard (Jack Farthing), who seems to be grieving more intensely than anyone. The result is an unusually human grifter story. Instead of diving into the trite subject of sociopathic behavior, like Inventing Anna or Dirty John, Chloe finds depth, authenticity, and even compassion in its profile of a scammer.

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