Most true crime stories tell the story of a perpetrator and a victim, but The Girl From Plainville wasn’t interested in that angle. Yes, we know the images of Michelle silently sitting in the courtroom as people express their concern and anger, but what about Conrad Roy’s story? Plainville expands the true crime genre by adding numerous scenes between Carter and Roy to get text messages on their feet. Colton Ryan shows us the young man who took his own life, and his subtle, nuanced performance is gut-wrenching.
Tackling the subject of mental health–especially one that had real-life consequences–was something that Ryan was constantly thinking about. Not only did he want to deliver an honest performance, but he was always thinking of breathing life into a real person. Roy was someone who loved being on the water, and you can see that joy on Ryan’s face in those brief scenes. Pay attention to how differently he interacts with his mother and father (played by Chloe Sevigny and Norbert Leo Butz, respectively). Conrad ‘Coco’ Roy was a regular guy, and what happened to him could happen to any of us.
Ryan and I talk about getting scenes adapted from text messages on their feet. Carter and Roy only met in real life briefly, but Plainville allows us to see how life can expand when you constantly talk to someone on your phone. This limited series could’ve been one-sided or melodramatic, but Ryan deftly and carefully paints a picture of a man torn away by his own hand. Imagine how his life could’ve been different if he had someone else to speak to.
The Girl From Plainville is streaming now on Hulu.