After years of waiting, Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends finally got its own TV adaptation. Prepare yourself for a series you won’t be able to stop watching.
The literary phenomenon of Sally Rooney, and with it the adaptations of her novels, is for us, millennials, a true devotion. We simply devoured the first three books of this Irish author. And since 2020, after the screen adaptation of Normal People finally came out, instantly becoming the favorite TV show of our generation, we could hardly wait for Conversations with Friends. It finally came on May 15 and with it 12 30-minute-long episodes of pure aesthetics, turbulent interpersonal relationships, and painfully relatable characters we’ve been hoping for the last two years.
The Hulu series Conversations with Friends, based on Rooney’s debut novel, follows childhood friends Francis (the perfect Alison Oliver) and Bobby (the energetic Sasha Lane) during a summer spent with the couple Nick (Joe Alvin) and Melissa (Jamiema Kirk). If two is a company and three is a crowd, then these four represent real, intricate chaos. While each of the girls develops her own (mostly forbidden and absolutely complicated) relationship with the remaining two, we have before us the TV premiere of the year, which rightly demands all our attention. Here’s why.
There are many reasons why we adore Sally Rooney and hence why she became one of the most influential contemporary authors in the world in such a short amount of time. Her works exude a complete understanding of the way most of us live our lives, including all those small moments, as well as the big ones, we face on a daily. Fortunately for us, however, the adaptations of her books replicate the exact same spirit to a tee, bringing it to small screens in a bombastic way. Conversations with Friends continues walking the same path as Normal People did, introducing us to a modern, diverse and complicated story we maybe didn’t even know we needed.
This series brings us everything we ever wanted from 21st-century television. From the frustrating nature of digital communication, through the alienation of living in a metropolis, all the way to the sincere affection that we can develop with others despite myriad difficulties. No matter how unconventional a relationship may seem from the outside, Sally Rooney understands its candor and importance. This is why Conversations with Friends is such a refreshment in the over-saturated market of ‘safe’ current-day TV.
In the love quadrangle between Nick, Melissa, Francis, and Bobby, additionally mixed up by the relationship between the latter two, we get a reflection on modern-day dating that might feel all too familiar. With Frances and Bobby’s previous history, levitating between the physical and the platonic ever since high school, confusion and discomfort give way to strong feelings, friendship and care, leaving room for dramatic and unexpected collisions with people from the outside of their bubble.
And yet, it is not only the ‘spicy’, interesting, and authentic plot that makes us happy to return to Rooney and her screenplays over and over again. It’s not even due to the great actors, the perfect costume design, or the wonderful summer atmosphere of the Croatian coastline which serves as the backdrop to the vicissitudes between our protagonists. The key lies, above all, in the realism aimed at millennial generations, which never disappears from the screen. Not even for a second.
Scenes of physical intimacy are accompanied by naturalistic and convincing depictions of love and corporality, whether they be gentle, clumsy, or inflamed, while the dialogues bring to the surface a variety of topics we ourselves are preoccupied with. From mental health to sexuality, identity, family problems, and the difficult experience of living in our twenties in a world that bears little resemblance to that in which our parents grew up — Conversations with Friends has it all.
In order to understand that something quite special is in front of us when we talk about this series, it only suffices to say that it’s one of the few shows out there utilizing its female characters in a truly respectful manner. In it, three-dimensional, imperfect female characters dominate every scene, and friendship and devotion between women often steal the stage. On top of that, it might be one of the only fictional works openly portraying the struggles of endometriosis, a health condition too familiar to many women, yet rarely discussed in media.
At the same time, not a single body shown in this series is objectified, no matter how many unclothed men or women we see per episode. In itself, this is a decades-long awaited triumph in the field of television and film and an urge for more directors to learn and adapt.
Already available on HBO Max, Conversations with Friends is a series you should not be missing out on. Hopefully, the next thing you will do after reading this article is turn on your TV. You won’t regret it for a second.
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