The seven-part series, which features Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss in the lead role, received positive reviews from the major American entertainment publications and websites such as The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Vulture.
The six-hour series screened in its entirety at the festival (with one intermission and one short lunch break) with Campion joking beforehand that she would give out “I Made It Through Top of the Lake at Sundance” badges to all attendees following the screening.
In their review, The Hollywood Reporter likened the series to other popular crime-and-family-driven television series of recent years, saying it’s “right up there with the best of them”.
They praise Campion for the way she “summons up subtext and subtle layers of meaning and, with them, extraordinary ripples of tension and unease”.
Variety’s critic describes the series as “absorbing and richly atmospheric” while applauding Moss for her “excellent performance”.
Buzzfeed said Top of the Lake was a “beautiful, fantastically acted mystery, and to experience something so intense so intensely was a privilege.”
Salt Lake Magazine said in its review, “You will be addicted to this wild ride, and the end will shock you.”
Vulture labelled the series an “engrossing mystery” and said the New Zealand setting was “devastatingly gorgeous”.
Campion said to Vulture afterwards: “People were not leaving, except to maybe go to the toilet. I mean, I did once. And it seemed like there were more people there at the end than there were at the beginning! I don’t quite know how that happened.”
The series also features kiwi actors Jay Ryan, Robyn Malcolm, Lucy Lawless and Madeleine Sami.