Normal People Review

Normal People
Image Source: The Guardian

TV Show: Normal People
Distributors: Hulu & BBC Three
Production Companies: Element Pictures & Screen Ireland
Director: Lenny Abrahamson & Hettie McDonald
Producer: Ed Guiney
Scriptwriters: Alice Birch, Mark O’Rowe & Sally Rooney
Main Cast: Daisy Edgar Jones, Paul Mescal, Sarah Greene & India Mullen
Release Date: April 26 2020
Episodes: 12
Certificate: 16+

Based on Sally Rooney’s novel, the TV show adaptation of Normal People is a highly accurate depiction of the book. The character development and script represent the main story and setting in almost exact detail.

Normal People

Synopsis Of Normal People

Much like the novel, the story follows Marianne and Connell. The two friends in school who grow through love and heartbreak together. Throughout the show, they face struggles both in their relationship and in their personal lives that try to tear them away from each other. By having such a closeness and mutual understanding of one another though, they somehow always reunite. 

The show displays many triggering themes. These include struggling with mental health, domestic abuse, love, and friendship which at times can be difficult to watch but remain crucial to the development of the characters. Throughout the TV show, we are introduced to enticing new characters that each affect Marianne and Connell in one way or another. This adds an unpredictable nature to the show.


Mainly set in Ireland, there are plenty of coastal settings used in the production that reflect the small town landscape of Sligo. The production was filmed in a variety of well-known places in Ireland such as Dublin. There, the actual college of Trinity (the university that Connell and Marianne attended) can be seen. Furthermore, in episode 9, Marianne continues her studies in Sweden and so some scenes were shot in Luleå, a coastal city in northwest Sweden. It captures a large snowy landscape surrounded by trees that creates a beautiful visual image. 


Within both the novel and TV show, Connell visits Marianne in her Italian villa in Trieste owned by her family. Whilst the Villa is seemingly in Trieste, filming actually took place in Sant’Oreste, Lazio. That’s around 22 miles north of Rome. The scenery of Lazio is beautiful and covered with a beautiful summery countryside creating a beautiful atmosphere. The stay in Italy is an important factor in the story by showing the economic differences between Marianne and Connell. Not to mention it is visually mesmerising to watch. 

Analysis Of Normal People

Despite the usual fears that TV and movie adaptations of books are usually very disappointing, Normal People is extremely accurate to the book. The script is almost identical to the dialogue used in the novel. The fact that Rooney also helped to write the script is probably a large reason why. And the team executes Rooney’s vision for the novel authentically, largely due to the amazing cast. Normal People was Paul Mescal’s (Connell’s) breakout role as his portrayal of Connell is impeccable.

The acting and chemistry between Paul and Daisy in this show is truly outstanding. So, they had to create such a raw emotional relationship onscreen. And it’s no wonder that the pair are the best of friends behind the cameras. The story they tell and portray is so beautiful and heartbreaking and brings the book to life. Furthermore, the use of multiple settings on the screen creates a romantic atmosphere very crucial to the story and gives an insight into the scenes within the novel breathing life into the hometown of Sligo and the various trips around Europe.

Summary Of Normal People

In closing, if you’re a fan of the Normal People novel, you will love the TV show that brings the book to life.

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding

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