This article is directed for those of you who have not been indoctrinated into the cult that is the Normal People fan club. The hit Hulu show directed by Lenny Abrahamson and based on the best-selling novel by Sally Rooney is a must-see for essentially everyone over the age of sixteen. The show follows Rooney’s lead characters Marianne, played by the beautiful Daisy Edgar-Jones and Connell, played by the incomparable Paul Mescal. The two begin an intimate relationship in secondary school in their small town in Ireland and weave into and out of each other’s lives as they go off to post-secondary school and begin new chapters in their lives.
The show is dramatic, romantic, devastating and insightful; allowing the viewer to experience the whole spectre of emotions one carries when dealing with friendship and love. It must be said that much of this show is sexual in nature, with many occasions of nudity, but that is what lends to the honesty of the plot and the emotions it makes the viewer feel. It may take a couple of episodes to really sink into the bleak manner that the show is shot in, but after a couple of episodes, it becomes hard to deny the emotional toll it has on viewers who become invested in the characters and the outcome of their tumultuous relationship.
A great aspect of the show is its realistic depiction of the type of intimacy young people experience and its emotional and psychological consequences. Many scenes portray the necessity of consent between partners and give perfect examples of how vital communication is to achieve intimacy and fulfillment for everyone involved. What makes this show so unique is that it brings extremely important topics like consent, sex, mental health and abuse into the public’s view in a way which depicts them as sincerely as possible. Both main characters struggle with their own mental health issues even though they have extremely different backgrounds, and find themselves searching for love, acceptance and courage through very relatable scenarios. I personally found myself relating to many of both difficult and happier moments of the show, whether it was heartbreak, having anxiety or trying to find a connection with others. The timeline of the plot forces us to ride the waves of sadness and joy the characters experience as time passes while feeling helpless to the unpredictability and uncertainty of the future.
Normal People was just recently nominated for four Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series for Paul Mescal and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series for Lenny Abrahamson. It can be viewed on Hulu or CBC Gem online for free for Canadians.