The sublime elective affinities of Normal People

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A phenomenon of society across the Channel, the series features two young Irishmen who love each other but keep tearing each other apart.

Precious are the works that know how to grasp the delicacy, the volatility of feelings. The Normal People miniseries, on StarzPlay, is like that. Gorgeous. Taken from the cult novel by Sally Rooney, it follows the pas de deux between Marianne and Connell, from high school to Trinity University in Dublin. Studious, lonely, with a rageous insolence towards her peers and her teachers, she comes from a privileged family. And knows how to hide his intimate wounds. He is a quiet sportsman with a tender heart. Her mother does the housework at Marianne’s.

In progress, they look at each other. But one afternoon, the dull attraction that unites them bursts out. Connell however asks Marianne to keep their relationship secret, for fear of displeasing her popular friends. The first misunderstanding that fueled this amorous crossover over twelve episodes. These two do not know how to be together but cannot bear to be separated.

The end of adolescence

“Sally Rooney’s book shocked me. It was so radical to portray the first love, despite its misunderstandings, in a positive light where so many fictions represent it as a tragedy rich in perils, confides to the Figaro Lenny Abrahamson, named at the Oscars for Room. The complicity between Marianne and Connell transforms them, raises them, “he continues. To restore this solar dimension, the director films as closely as possible the looks, the faces, of his incandescent duo, Paul Mescal (of which it is the first role) and Daisy Edgar-Jones (The War of the Worlds). Before our eyes, their characters leave the awkwardness of adolescence.


Unable to put the words on their procrastination, Connell and Marianne speak frankly. Consent, the pillar of their relationship, is rarely mentioned. Rather than seeking to magnify their desire, their antics continue this dialogue.

Abrahamson thus called on Ita O’Brien, intimacy coordinator, as we say today, of the Sex Education series. “Paul and Daisy are so young. I didn’t want them to feel compelled to say yes. Ita asked them how they were viewing these love scenes. They were much more sincere than I imagined ”, notes the director. Before recognizing: “I saw myself again at the dawn of my twenties. Connell and Marianne say something about us, about our innate talent for derailing our happiness. ”

This great call to revisit our own failures found its audience. This cathartic series brought together more than 21 million views on the BBC 3 website. So much so that there is even talk of giving the channel a frequency that has gone 100% digital. The heart has its reasons that reason ignores…

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