Being Bare in Closed Walls: A review of Hulu's Normal People

Dec 6, 2021 0 comments



Hulu’s Normal People is a 12-part mini-series that sparked massive attention on social media not only for its masterful adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name but also a beautiful depiction of the beauty and complexities of intimacy. From being emotionally straining and difficult to its most sincere despite being bittersweet at times.

 

Being real to each other


The series follows its two main characters named Marianne (played by Daisy Edgar Jones) and Connell (played by Paul Mescal), and their relationship throughout the series. At the start of the series, we learn that Marianne is from a privileged family in a town in Sligo, Ireland but is unpopular at her school; bullied, and made an outcast by her classmates while abused by her brother at home. Whereas Connell is the opposite. He lives in a small apartment with only his mother, who works at Marianne’s house as their cleaner, but is admired by both his teachers and schoolmates despite feeling alienated for most of the time. 

 

From there we see their relationship blossom but kept secret from their peers. Later on, as they move into college, it develops into a series of on-again, off-again relationships, finding different partners in-between and facing personal problems along the way. They ultimately learn that they can be their most vulnerable only with each other.


 

“It’s not like this with other people”


Normal People masterfully blends the realism of relationships and belongingness with the struggles of class inequality. Marianne and Connell’s romance feels honest and sincere even in its slow and quiet moments. That’s what makes their relationship throughout the series more special compared to any other relationship they’ve had with other people. The show doesn’t indulge in the enthralling glamor often portrayed in popular media but instead revels in its more mundane aspects when their relationship is at its highs.

 

How class inequality affects the characters


The author of the novel Sally Rooney is a Marxist writer and has incorporated her politics into the story. Class inequality plays a big role in Marianne and Connell’s relationship and how it impacts their character and relationship overall. For instance, in episode 8 Marianne and Connell explore what having a scholarship means for them. For Marianne, it means an ego boost that displays her intellectual brilliance, and while the same can be said for Connell, the scholarship mostly meant that he’s able to have disposable income to travel with his friends. It’s money though, isn’t it? The substance that makes the world real. Connell remarks. This is the added layer in Normal People that makes it stand out among the rest.

 

Final Thoughts


All in all, Normal People is a worthy adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel. From its cinematography, tightly-written script, and an amazing soundtrack that captures the ambiance of its episodes altogether. Daisy Edgar Jones and Paul Mescal portray their characters so well that make their on-screen chemistry so genuine, heartfelt, and even tear-jerking. I would definitely recommend you guys give it a watch.



━━ Written By  Juan Carlos G. Montenegro


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