You’ve seen Paul Rudd play twins in Netflix’s Living With Yourself, now watch Mark Ruffalo play twins in HBO’s I Know This Much is true. Based off a novel of the same name from Wally Lamb, Ruffalo plays Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. The miniseries is certainly more serious than Rudd’s twin show and feels incredibly heavy. While I’m normally a binger, I’m glad this show releases week to week so that I have a moment to digest before the next one.
The show starts out with a very jarring and intense scene – Thomas Birdsey cutting his hand off in the middle of a library and saying it was a sacrifice for God. You see, Thomas is a paranoid schizophrenic. For most of his life, he has been in and out of hospitals. While caring for his brother and having to pick up the pieces after Thomas has episodes, Dominick knows it’s his responsibility to be there for him. Not just because it was his mother’s deathbed wish, but because they’re twins. That is his other half.
Thomas is the catalyst for the first two episodes, but the main character is Dominick. We see how Dominick is trying to deal with his brother’s latest episode, while also looking back on how his life had been affected by Thomas, the death of his mother, and the abuse his stepfather bestowed on him while growing up. Dominick and Thomas are so vastly different and Ruffalo has mastered creating two different people than I sometimes forgot that both were played by the same actor.
It’s only been two episodes, so I’m not sure where this show is going to go. So far, the only real thing I can that this show is about is one brother dealing with his mentally ill twin. There also seems to be an underlying subplot of Dominick wondering who his biological father is (since his mother never told him) and learning about his grandfather from a memoir written in Italian. That is a story that I’m waiting to see how it plays out.
There’s a lot of smaller characters played by the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, Juliette Lewis, Kathryn Hahn, Imogen Poots, Archie Panjabi, and Rob Huebel. How much involvement each one of them have in it we will find out, but I’m liking everyone so far.
The Birdsey brothers have less than happy lives and how tough it is for both is perfectly portrayed on screen. There’s plenty of scenes throughout the first two episodes that were intense and well-done, as well as heartbreaking. I can think of the hand-cutting-off scene, the one where Thomas and Dominick were reaching out to each other in a mental hospital, and Dominick and his ex-wife Dessa finding out their baby died from SIDS.
I look forward to seeing where this story goes and all I have to say is that Ruffalo is giving Chris Evans (in Apple TV+’s Defending Jacob, which I also praise) a run for his money. If Ruffalo, Evans, and Tom Pelphrey (for Ozark season three) aren’t nominated this upcoming award season, I will seriously question this decision.
What have you thought of I Know This Much is True?
A girl with too many fandoms to count.