I may be a little late to the game in reviewing the new BBC/Hulu adaptation of the hit novel Normal People by Sally Rooney, having waited until I had handed in my final assignments of University. Once I was free from my degree, however, binging the show was the first thing I did. And while I have a small teeny regret in watching all 12 episodes in a single day with only an hour break for lunch (my emotions ended up being all over the place, feeling as if I was experiencing a painful breakup), there are no regrets in watching the show as it is most definitely one of the best shows I have ever seen on the small-screen.
Perfectly capturing the beauty and brutality of first-love, the show zones in on the relationship between the two central characters Marianne and Connell as they navigate life through sixth-form and University. Every single episode leaves you wanting more while also experiencing the excruciating pain, the exquisite agony alongside the characters themselves.
Edgar-Jones communicates so well with the viewer that you can see as an audience member how and why she feels herself unlovable.
The casting is perfectly done with Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal capturing the intensity, emotion and damage of the two leads. Edgar-Jones brings to life Marianne’s intensity, damage and brittleness with three scenes in particular (the scene in Italy, the scene in Switzerland, the scene in Connell’s bedroom after the football) breaking my heart into tiny pieces. She portrays the pain and struggle brilliantly so much so that you get sucked into the scenes yourself, experiencing the pain alongside her. Edgar-Jones communicates so well with the viewer that you can see as an audience member how and why she feels herself unlovable.
Mescal also does a brilliant job of conveying all of Connell’s intelligence, his self-doubt, his warmth, beauty and charm; so much so that you find yourself alongside Marianne finding him attractive. There’s been so many threads on Twitter appreciating the chain alone and I am among the many that would both marry and love Connell to the end of the earth.
It deals with deeper themes such as domestic abuse, depression, class divides while having a banging soundtrack
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald, Normal People depicts all the embarrassments, humiliations, disappointments, pain and excitements of new love. It deals with deeper themes such as domestic abuse, depression, class divides while having a banging soundtrack from start to finish. It is a show that takes itself seriously but in a way that is enticingly beautiful, from the acting to direct to the script.
Normal People is a complex teen romance, depicting the struggles of growing up and the necessary process of breaking down the person you were in school in order to become the person you’re going to be and watching the characters do this on screen is satisfying, moving and emotionally wrecking in the best way.
Alongside making you laugh, smile and appreciate the love between these two characters who come together in instant sexual attraction coupled with the intelligence they have to understand one another in a way no one else has understood them before, this show also makes me mad. That one scene where Connell doesn’t ask to move in with Marianne when he cannot afford rent and ends up saying he wants to see other people? I was physically screaming at my screen. I had to pause to be angry before continuing.
And let’s not talk about the ending – it’s satisfying but with a tinge of sadness and disappointment.
This is a brilliant take on two teenagers desperately trying to complete themselves and each other and I 100% recommend to fans of the book but also those looking for a beautiful romance coming-of-age story.