Critic Consensus: Russian Doll may be stuck in a time loop, but this endlessly inventive series never repeats itself as it teeters on a seesaw of shifting tones -- from fatally funny to mournfully sad -- that is balanced with exhilarating moxie by an astonishing Natasha Lyonne.
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There's much more to appreciate about this quick hit of brilliance, from the leads' soulful performances to the edgy, adventurous direction.
It's directed with some flair by Headland, who bathes Nadia's New York in a kind of nicotine haze and who manages the crowd scenes with nice comic facility.
With the same humanity and attention to detail that it vests in all its intricacies, Russian Doll unwinds how the incoherent, shame-laden cultural image of mental illness diverges from -- and worsens -- the real thing.
Its eight tightly scripted 20-minute episodes are funny, moving, and sometimes existentially terrifying.
There are a whole lot of ideas here -- a few thrown against the wall to see if they'll stick -- but the real pleasure of this four-hour head trip are the performances. Lyonne is outstanding.
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