They say that first love is charged, messy and pure. Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell’s (Paul Mescal) relationship could not ring truer. They hail from the same small town in the west of Ireland, but that is about as far as their similarities go. Their socioeconomic divide sadly precedes them – until feelings take hold.
Sally Rooney’s bestselling romance Normal People, the literary phenomenon that took the world by storm last year after a highly anticipated release, is back for another dose of success in this twelve-part drama for BBC Three in partnership with Hulu. A profoundly character-driven tale fiercely faithful to the novel, the narrative explores the lives of two carefree individuals who, against the odds, find that they simply cannot let go of one another.
What makes this production special to watch is the maturity with which the storyline is tackled. Where teen love can often be externalised, involving girly gossips and heightened emotions in front of peers, Connell and Marianne’s relationship blossoms behind closed doors, away from the spotlight. The internalisation of their feelings adds a whole new dimension to the plot, serving as a metaphor for love itself: affection, in its truest form, need not be seen, for it is felt.
Mescal and Edgar-Jones’s chemistry is electric. She with her Anne Hathaway-like grace, and he with his chivalrous mannerisms, make for the perfect courtship. Rooney is a gifted storyteller, and director Lenny Abrahamson an acclaimed visionary. That the narrative is able to succeed purely through the simplicity and subtlety of communication is a testament to the brilliance of its writing and performance. Normal People is definitely one to add to the watch-list.
Normal People is released digitally on BBC Three on 26th April 2020.
Watch the trailer for Normal People here: