Es is a fascinating variant of the “Romeo and Juliet” story that Sally Rooney tells in her novel “Normal People”: The families of the teenagers Marianne (Daisy Edgar Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) are embedded in social structures, in for whom the attraction that the two feel for each other becomes a show of strength. This is also about class differences, and Rooney also reverses the classic constellation: Marianne is a clever but headstrong loner from a wealthy but emotionally chilled family, who is frozen by the impression of the late father’s abuse. Connell is a hugely popular and talented football player whose single mother has a solid moral compass. Nevertheless, Connell urges Marianne to keep the budding relationship between the two secret – so as not to jeopardize his status with the buddies, and probably also out of shame that his mother is cleaning Marianne’s family. So he does not intervene when his friends cover Marianne with cruel malice. That will haunt both of them for years to come. Marianne does not say a word and knows how to defend herself against the taunts of her classmates and her brother thanks to her polished intelligence, at the same time she is extremely sensitive. So she entrenched herself in her outsider role, which she is only too aware of.
When the couple goes to college after graduating from school, the roles change – Marianne finds a clique that shares her tendency to sarcasm as self-protection. Connell suddenly feels out of place and alone without his boys. As the two strip off their youth and locate themselves as adults, this complicated relationship shapes their lives. They drift apart and back together. They have sex and have in-depth conversations about being with and without each other. The desires and insecurities of two young people with different social backgrounds are revealed, which nevertheless seem to be reflected.
For the BBC and Hulu, Lenny Abrahamson filmed the story with the same delicate force with which he directed the drama “Room” five years ago – his four-time Oscar-nominated work on a young woman who raises her young son in captivity as a kidnapper and after a successful escape, struggles to find his way around the world together with the five-year-old. At that time, its main actress Brie Larson was awarded the Oscar.
There were interested parties with rather deep pockets
Again, Abrahamson relies on a great acting talent: Edgar Jones and Mescal are bewitching. You have to be so close to the camera. All other characters in the series remain out of focus, but thanks to a noticeable electricity between the two young actors, it’s easy to be captivated by them.