With the much-anticipated TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People getting its Irish premiere this coming Tuesday, UK audiences were treated to the full series today as it landed on BBC iPlayer. Ahead of the premiere, we're rounding up some of the early, glowing reviews about the series
In Normal People, school friends-with-benefits Marianne and Connell are, from the outside, opposites who attract and begin a romance that takes place in relatively ‘normal’ settings — in a bedroom, at a party. Connell’s mother is Marianne’s cleaner yet he is popular and she is not. He struggles despite this and when the tables turn and college years arrive, she blossoms while he is simply tolerated by those around him.
Simply put, the novel is superb — and about so much more than a complex modern love story. Class, wealth, power and an innate understanding of the mistakes we make as human beings, it’s all here. It was made for the screen. And by the sounds of it, its small-screen adaptation has hit all the right notes.
Related: Book review: Sally Rooney's beautiful coming-of-age love story
You can imagine the anticipation when a 12-part BBC adaptation was announced with Rooney herself co-writing the episodes and Room's Lenny Abrahamson down to direct. Early reviews have said it's utterly compelling; that it gets the balance of heady teenage love with painstaking intimacy in the Irish setting perfectly on point, as desire bubbles beneath the surface for the couple (the sexual chemistry and authenticity of the love scenes is mentioned in almost every review). Here are our favourite roundups so far:
#NormalPeople is so abnormally brilliant & gorgeously Irish. Feel like I've just relived my own Debs' dramas, then landed into Trinity again as a country kid who'd rarely been to Dublin & had never hung out with an English person before. My eye balls send thanks @lennyabrahamson
— Aisling Bea (@WeeMissBea) April 26, 2020
Four episodes in and I admit I was worried that all the ‘unsaid’ in #NormalPeople post the school bits (no spoilers) might not work on screen with dialogue being so important. So glad I was proved wrong. So much said in the unsaid. Perfect acting. @NormalPeopleBBC pic.twitter.com/Q1AqMx9OO3
— Simon Savidge Shields (and Reads) (@SavidgeReads) April 26, 2020
I can’t stop thinking about it, it’s just achingly beautiful & utterly perfectly cast #NormalPeople (stupendous soundtrack as well)
— Joe Michalczuk (@joemichalczuk) April 26, 2020
We’re only two episodes in but I genuinely believe that #NormalPeople will change the game for the ‘teen romance’ shows we all grew up watching. It’s an amazing book and I worried the TV show may let it down. It hasn’t. It’s beautiful. The directing, writing, acting. All of it.
— Elizabeth Doyle? (@elsie_doyle_) April 26, 2020
Watched the first episode of #NormalPeople (I’m trying not to binge it okay), and it is exquisite. The BBC really are spoiling us bookish folk with brilliant book adaptations this year ???
— Sarah Sleath (@Sarah_and_Books) April 26, 2020
I'm 3 episodes into #NormalPeople and Jesus, would it make you homesick for Ireland. So happy with how true it is to the book so far and how it hasn't be anglicised for the BBC audience
— Eimear Keenan (@eimearkeenan) April 26, 2020
Don’t know if there’ll be an awards ceremonies next year but all Oscars etc should go to the delivery of “it was class” in episode two of #NormalPeople
— Emer McLysaght (@EmerTheScreamer) April 26, 2020
This isn’t a surprise at all, but #NormalPeople is an absolute MASTERPIECE of an adaptation. The casting is *perfect*, the script is stunning and the direction by @lennyabrahamson & Hettie McDonald is beyond fantastic. So, so beautifully done. ??????????
— Leon McCarthy (@Leonade) April 26, 2020
Just finished all of #NormalPeople. That was beautiful. Pitch perfect. Loved it as much as the book, which is rare. Easily one of my favourite TV shows of 2020 so far, if not of the last few years. pic.twitter.com/BD3599XXzE
— Elliot Gonzalez (@elliot_gonzalez) April 26, 2020
— Barry Keoghan (@BarryKeoghan) April 22, 2020
I’ve been lucky enough to see the first few episodes of #NormalPeople and my god you’re in for a treat
— Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) April 21, 2020
— Marian Keyes is staying at home (@MarianKeyes) April 20, 2020
#NormalPeople is a breathtaking & intimate tour de force. I was so moved by Paul Mescal & Daisy Edgar-Jones' performances. They are sublime. My favorite show of the year so far. @hulu @normalpeople pic.twitter.com/sk5NNDjGGx
— Avery Thompson (@avery__thompson) April 22, 2020
Normal People is one the best TV dramas in recent memory. This is an honest, beautiful & yet brutal depiction of first love at a young age, perfectly presented in two raw, heartfelt performances from @DaisyEdgarJones & @mescal_paul @NormalPeopleBBC @normalpeople #NormalPeople
— Ryan Pollard (@RyanPollard201) April 26, 2020
Normal People will premiere on Tuesday, April 28th on RTÉ One