Review

Our Latest Obsession: Normal People

Here we review Normal People, the excellent BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney's popular book.

The TV series that everyone is talking about, based on Sally Rooney’s popular book ‘Normal People’ is a breath of fresh air. Charting the complicated and often misunderstood relationship between Marianne and Connell as they go from school to university, we experience their intense relationship over the years.

The 12-part adaptation is already available to binge-watch on BBC iPlayer, I for one finished it in a mere two days. Putting aside the steamy sex scenes which at times felt a little bit awkward when lunch-time viewing, the open and honest nudity and the frustrating miscommunication between the teen pair, eventually leads to an ending that quite simply breaks the heart, (no spoilers here!)

We think it’s such an important story for this moment in time, and in particular for young people across the UK navigating how they feel and how their actions and decisions impact others.

In particular, it broaches the topic of consent so effortlessly and without issue, something that is so important for young men and women to see and to accept as the norm. It captures the feelings, passion, and emotions of a ‘first-love’, and many viewers will either relate or be yearning for a similar love in their lives.

From the ceaseless low-level bullying in the name of banter that Marianne faces at school and the ecstasy of the first kiss to the brutality of the first betrayal – all your formative experiences are here.

The Guardian

As well as looking at their relationship under a microscope, the story touches on the topics of bullying, insecurities, suicide, and family estrangement. The topics are hard-hitting but perfectly dealt with over 12 episodes of easy to consume chapters. It doesn’t feel too heavy or too complex.

It is often the case that we brush off our teenage experience as our ‘learning’ years, often pushing them to the side and leaving them as a It is often the case that we brush off our teenage experience as our ‘learning’ years, often pushing them to the side and leaving them as a memory. What this show does is it makes you realise that the things you experienced and went through as a teen help shape you into an adult. The way you adapt and grow shapes the life ahead of you and the people within it.

In addition to crafting a love story that’s easy to get swept up in, Normal People also explores class and privilege, the insidious impact of abuse, and how what seem like silly teenage interactions can shape one’s sense of identity well into adulthood.

Vulture

It isn’t often that we see a story like this one on our screens, showing a level of normalcy that we can all relate to. Making mistakes, finding yourself as you navigate adulthood, and improving our emotional intelligence.

Marianne takes the lead in the story as a misunderstood, moody, and intelligent young woman who doesn’t fit in at school. Due to this, she is bullied, taunted, and made to feel ‘ugly’ and unlovable.

Connell is the school ‘jock’, popular and sporty, enjoying his experience of school. This is completely turned on its head when he gets to university where he struggles with his insecurities and depression whilst Marianne thrives among intelligent and respectful peers. The bond between them sees them become each other’s rock through life, even when they are in relationships with other people.

“Normal People” tells its story in bursts and flashes, vignettes that glow up onscreen and fade into another. Watching it feels like walking through someone’s memories, sampling crucial bits of experience and image — a bike ride, a figure reflected in a pool — that, only in retrospect, turn out to have meant everything.

NY Times

We highly recommend you give it a watch if you haven’t already!

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