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Normal People - BBC3/Hulu


Colonel Panic
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This is a 12 part adaption of Sally Rooney’s novel about a boy and girl who met in school and their relationship from there through to college. 
 

I never got around to reading the book. My wife did last year and found it very good and a search of the literature sub forum shows a few mentions. 
 

I loved it. Not only was it a really well acted intimate story, but it looked beautiful too. 
 

And more than that, something which I don’t think will be unique to me at all, I think a lot of people will be able to relate to at least some parts of it. 
 

I related a lot to Connell, the male lead, in that he’s someone that turns himself inside with anxiety and struggles to click with people. My wife didn’t even connect that with me but it has been the story of my life since my late teens.

 

i love TV like Devs, where you think about EVERYTHING, it’s rarer to have a show where it makes you look inward. 

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I've watched the first 5 because I'm trying not to rinse through it. It's so good. The way it's shot, the music, the lighting - it's all class. Lenny Abrahamson is such a great director.


I definitely related to Connell as well - played GAA, went to Trinity, bit of a bookworm. And there were a lot of scenes where I really empatised with him to the point where it was almost hard to watch. 


One of my shows of the year for sure.

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The book is superb. One of those rare instances where the widespread literary clamour was spot on.
 

On 01/05/2020 at 09:58, Colonel Panic said:i love TV like Devs, where you think about EVERYTHING, it’s rarer to have a show where it makes you look inward. 

This. Great point. Had me reflecting on my own past, first love, uni flings etc. I’ve always been a bit sceptical of people saying particular books stay with them and that they think about them all the time. But this did, in spades. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to say this is one of the best things I've watched in years, superb performances, beautifully shot and put together. One of the most genuine and frank examinations of relationships I've seen. Surprised it hasn't been discussed more in here.

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Finished this last night and it really is something special. It's rare to see something that focuses so much on a young relationship without judging it's characters or preaching to the audience.

 

I did have a little trouble empathising with the characters sometimes. The events of episode three had me mentally flipping the metaphorical table. I know they're young but bloody hell, I really I nearly gave up at that point. I also thought that, despite the amount of sex in the show, it was weirdly prudish. There seemed to be one type of sex that was 'good' (between the two main characters, missionary position, intimacy and affection paramount), while all other types of sex ranged from abusive (bondage and bdsm) to not quite right (woman on top, sex as something fun). I don't for a minute think that was a point they were trying to make but it felt odd.

 

On the plus side, it's treatment of mental health issues was exemplary. It's not often you see a frankness in a tv show where it's not the whole point of the show.

 

Thoroughly recommended.

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I think they're good actors but I hated the characters. They're just massive ellipses...

 

The supposed 'realism' is there but is constantly undercut by booky interludes from the author that just don't reflect living people.

 

Marianne: .....

 

Lad: ........

 

Marianne: .......

 

It feels fine for a few episodes but it just gets a bit silly. Particularly the reveal practically a year after a seasonal breakup. It rings false and silly.

 

That said, the two directors really generate some beautiful stuff.

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  • 3 weeks later...
2 hours ago, Peb Kacharach said:

 

I agree but I thought it was a captivating relationship up until the last couple of episodes dropped the ball.

 

The confrontation with her family was far too tame to be cathartic. And the career paths they both take apparently deviated from the book.

 

The idea he would have a massively successful publishing career drawing him to NYC didn't match up with his circumstances up until that point. He had no connections and at no point did the show illustrate his talent. We just hear Marianne and some of his peers celebrating his work. But it's never established what that is, nor does he develop any charisma or social confidence, so it just seems very unlikely he would find himself offered such a position in the real world. The show relegates Marianne to moving back home and working through her emotional & mental health problems. That wasn't a satisfactory outcome for her.

 

I've not read the book, but I've heard it differs in that Marianne is also very successful and their respective career paths lead to them parting ways. Also I don't believe it portrays her BDSM  kink as self-punishment, but her partners are more overtly abusive. The peripheral characters are more prominent, whereas the series took the decision to sideline them and focus on the protagonists love story.

 

The show was on course to be a low-key classic, and probably will still garner those sort of accolades, however I think as the characters matured the show was restricted by it's BBC Three teen drama focus. It is definitely one of the best series the BBC has put out in a long time though. Compulsive, relatable and incredibly well-acted.

 

I've read the book, there's quite a few differences that frankly, the tv show frames poorly. For example, Conall has sex with more women, and his girlfriend Helen isn't portrayed as a Marianne-obsessed jealous girlfriend (which was a really disappointing trope that crept into the tv show). The show, to me, felt more Conall-focused than the book.

 

Bookwise, the BDSM thing is left unclear, and it really only arises in the Conall scene. The Sweden boyfriend is portrayed as a bit uninterested in her just like she's uninterested in him.

 

Unfortunately, if you don't like the end of Marianne's story in the show you'll hate it in the book, she basically is successful but completely passive and will wait for Conall forever while he goes off and has a great time. It honestly feels like Twilight or 50 Shades fan fiction. The show improves on that immensely. The book's ending is rubbish.

 

I like the cast but Daisy Edgar Jones is just too pretty for the character described in the book, and that makes a lot of the initial school reaction stuff a little unbelieveable. Schoolboys would be constantly trying to impress her, as opposed to bullying her.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought this was exceptional. The two leads were just fantastic, and surely will have good careers off the back of this. Reluctantly came to this late, as really didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. I was very wrong. Me and my wife ended up binging it all over three days.

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8 hours ago, Bazjam said:

I thought this was exceptional. The two leads were just fantastic, and surely will have good careers off the back of this. Reluctantly came to this late, as really didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. I was very wrong. Me and my wife ended up binging it all over three days.

I was exactly the same and ended up being more invested in it than my wife. We're both making our way through the book now.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Just finished this a moment ago. Really enjoyed it, particularly once they got to college as I could really relate due to a similar experience of going to college in Dublin etc. 

 

Quick question for anyone who has read the book, does it continue on past the point S1ended? I have the book on order as I don't think S2 has been confirmed. 

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1 hour ago, Fargo said:

Just finished this a moment ago. Really enjoyed it, particularly once they got to college as I could really relate due to a similar experience of going to college in Dublin etc. 

 

Quick question for anyone who has read the book, does it continue on past the point S1ended? I have the book on order as I don't think S2 has been confirmed. 

 

Ends in the same place. Reasoning is different though.

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