Normal People | TV Series Review - Elle May

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Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Normal People | TV Series Review


Adapted from the Book Normal People by Sally Rooney
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie McDonald 
Cinematographers are Suzie Lavelle and Kate McCullough
Available on Hulu and BBC iPlayer

This is so random but I was browsing twitter and one of my mutuals RTd Kourtney Kardashian, I'm not really a fan of hers but what she wrote made me interested in a show available on Hulu and BBC3 on the BBC iPlayer so off I went to see what all the fuss was about and I fell in love with the show, not the kind of obsessed love but it spoke to me in so many ways. Being a very quiet emotional girl much like Marianne in the show it made me feel like I was looking at the show through her eyes a lot of the time. I find by putting myself in a character's shoes it helps me have a different outlook on things and if I watch a show or movie more than once I tend to pick someone different and see it from their point of view but with Marianne, I instantly connected with her.

The show is about two teens in school, they're so awkward around each other and real that it helps you see why the show was called Normal People. The events taking place aren't far fetched and a lot of people can relate to the situation and what is happening. For instance, I was seeing someone years ago and even though we weren't officially much like Conell and Marianne I often was hurt and jealous by how is as treated and the situations I was thrown in. The show throws both characters into uncomfortable choices constantly which seem to lead them down roads where they end up finding one another and there is something very romantic but also sad about this as events that take place end up being bittersweet.

The reason this works so well was because of the great casting choices and how well Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal work together as Marianne and Conell, they have great chemistry and are either able to make a situation very awkward which makes the audience feel that way too or their on-screen lust for one another hits you right in the heart and that's the kind of writing I'm on board with! I know this show is a book written by Sally Rooney, I would like to compare the show to the book to see how differently I would feel towards the characters and to see if the directors Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie McDonald did anything in a different way and possibly how it worked out better than in the book, I will just have to wait and see.

There are a lot of topics Normal People tackles and one of them is TW... suicide and how it affects those we leave behind. we see a very different side to Conell in the show because of this he seems to open up more and learn to express himself a little better than at the start of the show where he would be silent and just go along with anything his mates were doing. Marianne changes throughout the show too, she can still be very secretive but she is more open and confident since leaving school which I can relate to, it's hard to be yourself when others are constantly nasty and bringing you down but when in a new environment it can help you open up.


Conell and Marianne are so very different from each other that you wouldn't dream of putting them together as a couple and that's what works, that is what opens the conversation for it being acceptable to be different and be together. I personally like it when I'm with someone who doesn't have all the same interests it helps me find new things to like and learn about. With Marianne I perceived it as she was using their differences as a wall at times and feel as if it was such a big thing getting in the way stopping them from working well as a couple but I saw the opposite, I saw her come out of her shell and smile like she never would before, it's clear how happy he would make her. The intimate sex scenes bring them together and in those moments it feels like there has never been an issue between the two, the programme is very sex heavy and some have compared it to porn, I feel differently about it, it works and seems to be the thing that calms their nerves.

I'm somewhat of a fan of people bumping into one another and rekindling things, it takes a step in a new and exciting direction for us as an audience, even when one another would betray the other or hurt someone else in the story I felt like the story was never over and couldn't end the way it did. The show helps us see that even the saddest of people can find happiness but sometimes it can take a lot of work to get to the point in your life where you're content with that happiness and stop sabotaging it for yourself, which can be easier said than done sometimes.

A big part of the show was how it was filmed and we have the cinematographers to thank for this with their handheld cameras, it helps you get up close and personal with the cast and see things through the cast's eyes and your own and we have cinematographers Suzie Lavelle and Kate McCullough to thank for this, they deserve so much credit for bringing the story together with some beautifully shot scenes of an intense and loving relationship. Also, both Suzie and Kate are incredible cinematographers who have worked on a variety of shorts and shows I love. 

Suzie worked on the show The Living and the Dead which was put together so beautifully well, she has also worked on A Discovery of Witches, Doctor Who, Vikings, Sherlock, and many more. Kate has worked on a lot of documentaries such as Somebody to Love, The Moderators, the TV shows Blood, Can't Cope, Won't Cope, and many more. The reason I'm mentioning these as it's important to recognise women in the media industry but just those who direct but those who also do camera work too, they're responsible for the images we see on screen coming to life, these scenes will often stick with us, so they deserve the recognition for their hard work.

I don't think you can really compare Normal People to other shows as the story follows two people across a period of years and instead of using shock tactics, I suppose if you want to talk about what it could be similar to I would say both movies One Day and Love, Rosie. Both movies also follow 2 people in love and how they have a connection and where they both end up which is where Normal People leads us. The show is brilliant and I'm looking forward to seeing how Season 2 will tackle the ending we were given (I won't spoil it) I have a feeling that both characters still have a lot to face and more stories to give us, in the meantime I think I will read through the book and see what happens and maybe do a comparison post, I'm hoping they're not exactly the same just because I want to read through a different kind of journey to the one in the show. 
 


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