Quiet romance bursts to life in Hulu’s ‘Normal People’ adaptation
Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel “Normal People” tells the story of Connell and Marianne, two Irish teenagers who have a complicated and profound connection with each other. Hulu’s adaptation carefully follows the book and brings the two withdrawn characters to life on screen as Connell and Marianne grow into adults together.
Marianne is an isolated rich girl who can’t seem to connect with her high school peers. Connell is a popular soccer star whose mother works as a housekeeper at Marianne’s home. When Connell tries to befriend Marianne, the two begin to date in secret as Connell is afraid of what would happen if people knew he was sleeping with the school’s prickly outcast. When Connell asks another girl to the dance in an effort to hide his relationship with Marianne, she’s heartbroken and refuses to speak to him anymore.
The two don’t see one another again until they bump into each other at a party at Trinity, where their roles have reversed. Marianne has become popular and travels with an entourage of friends while Connell is struggling to adapt as a small fish in a big pond. The two reconcile over what happened in high school and form an easy friendship before falling back into a relationship.
As the series moves forward audiences watch as the two introspective characters repeatedly fall in and out of each other’s lives as they experience the highs and lows of fledgling adulthood during their time at Trinity. Hulu’s adaptation captures the delicate nuance of Rooney’s novel and masterfully brings the heavy tension between her characters to life without straying away from the source material.
Viewers familiar with the book will be pleased by the accuracy of the adaptation and the cast’s phenomenal performances. Marianne is brought vividly to the screen as Daisy Edgar-Jones delicately reveals the character’s depth of emotion. Paul Mescal effortlessly portrays Connell’s social anxiety and confusion brilliantly. Both actors have a spectacular chemistry as they portray the ebb and flow of Marianne and Connell’s tidal relationship.
“Normal People” has one season available on Hulu. The series is rated TV-MA. Viewers might also enjoy Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere.”
Episode length: 30 minutes
Similar series: Little Fires Everywhere