CONTROL: Italian author Elena Ferrante’s latest novel, Adult Liars, has been adapted for the screen as a six-episode Netflix series.
Following HBO’s acclaimed sequel My Shiny Friend , based on Ferrante’s Neapolitan tetralogy, three books have been turned into theatrical features, including last year’s Maggie Gyllenhaal-directed Lost Girl . (One could easily imagine that some studio Ferrante has a choice, regardless of what he’s thinking at this very second.)
His works—feminist, psychological, sociological, and operatic—are at once popular and literary, with vivid characters that actors crawl over each other to play.
If the Netflix version lacks the emotional complexity of the book – even at six episodes, that’s an obvious statement – that’s not a disservice to the text, which faithfully reproduces its arc and depicts important scenes, some of which are spectacular, and must be as you describe them. optional. (Ferrante is listed among the authors.)
Anyone new to the story will find it a well-told tale of ordinary people in unusual circumstances, with some exotic scenery — viewers who aren’t quite ready to leave Italy after The White Lotus may want to extend their stay. Jordana Marengo as the protagonist and narrator Giovanna Trada and Valeria Golina as Aunt Vittoria.
* The six best TV shows nominated for the 2023 Golden Globes (and where to watch them in NZ)
* Alaska Daily: Hilary Swank shines in new Disney+ series from Spotlight director
* Crossfire: TVNZ+’s latest Keeley Hawes drama will leave you deeply disappointed.
* Ten great TV shows of 2022 you haven’t seen (and where to watch them)
Most of the action takes place in three different districts of Naples: the upper-class Vomero, where Giovanna lives with her parents, professor Andrea (Alessandro Preziosi), and novel editor and de facto editor of novels Nella (Pina Turco); the wealthy seaside town of Posillipo, home to family friends Mariano (Biagio Forestieri), Costanza (Raffaella Rea) and their daughters Angela (Rossella Gamba), Ida (Azzurra Mennella), Giovanna’s best friends; Pascone, a worker in the Industrial Zone, still lives, the half-sister of Andrea and the half-sister of Vittoria, who is haunted by the legend of the devil. Each season is a prison in its own way, threatening to define character or limit possibilities, and Naples itself is depicted as a place of escape.
As the title suggests, this is a story from a young man’s point of view. Like Holden Caulfield, another teenage hero who is deeply upset by the hypocrisy, Giovanna fails her classes; When Mom says it’s a product of adolescence, Dad casually says that his sister (whose face has been blackened out in family photos) is ugly and therefore ghosted. Giovanna overhears this and it leads to a crisis that brings her to Vittoria’s door. (He’s an only child, not the least.) The question is whether Vittoria will turn him against his parents and possess him like a fairy-tale witch.
Together with Vittoria, who is cruel, vulgar, simply charming, by turns kind, scary, generous and needy, he meets his “children” – the grown-up children of Margherita (Suzy Del Giudice), a grown-up neighbor, who was also her late husband. Love of Vittoria’s life. They are Corrado (Giuseppe Brunetti), a bit of a curmudgeon; Tonino (Gianluca Spagnoli), a little sensitive; and the beautiful Julana (Maria Vera Ratti), engaged to Tonino’s friend Roberto (Giovanni Buselli), an attractive young Catholic intellectual who, like Giovanna’s father, has left Pascone and transferred to the academy. But life there is portrayed in a way that contrasts too starkly with his more dignified existence up the hill, rich and warm and messy, more spiritual and attractively dangerous than honest and intellectual. There is also gelato.
All of these characters are mixed up in an intersecting family drama, and it might be a spoiler to explain further. Much of the story revolves around the ownership and provenance of the platinum bracelet—it moves through trust and betrayal. Women are at the heart of the story; most of the men, by contrast, are portrayed as shallow, immature, and generally evil or pathetic; Even their pain seems pointless.
Since we know that Giovanna was born in 1979 and is 12 years old when the book begins, we can understand that it was written in the 1990s, but Ferrante does not indicate any cultural markers. (In the series’ compressed chronology, we meet him around age 15, which gives things a different flavor.) Director Edoardo De Angelis and his team cleverly fill in the writer’s blanks, if at times too stylistic. comment omitted. (For example, he writes that Giovanna sometimes plays loud music and dances, but here she is an avid break dancer.)
Beautiful details, musical numbers and colorful backdrops are added, including a trip to a rock club and a Communist Party carnival scene (slightly violent to remind us we’re in crazy Naples). ) – mainly to make the book that was talked about and thought about come true. La Casa del Portuale, a monument of brutalist architecture, joined the church. There, the sea and Mount Vesuvius can be seen again and again in the distance. The series also presents Giovanna with a Vespa, which symbolizes her growing freedom more effectively than public transportation, and looks great on screen.
The novel poignantly shows how adolescence changes its view of the world and people as it experiences self-doubt, self-absorption, self-enactment, and new experiences. Even when something doesn’t happen, Giovanna’s evolving thoughts, understandings, and misunderstandings about what’s happening are difficult to translate on screen, ambiguous, and not entirely consistent with the series. This is especially challenging for Marengo because Giovanna is a soft-spoken, poker-faced character. (Unlike Vittoria, who wears everything on her face.) That’s not to say that her performance is emotionally ambiguous or lacks interest of its own. In fact, it’s worth a spin on its own.
Adult Liars is now available to stream on Netflix.