Normal People was so affecting because of the microscopic focus on Marianne and Connell, with empathetic performances from Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal somehow capturing everything Rooney confessed on the page. Conversations has a more difficult job – as did the book – to honour the inner lives of four different people, led by the most reluctant, pessimistic and guarded of the group.
There are still tender moments, and brief flashes of light – intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien teams once more with director Lenny Abrahamson to give sex scenes, mainly between Frances and Nick but also Frances and Bobbi, great emotional heft, telling their own story just as clearly as the dialogue and unspoken yearning of everyone’s body language. Kirke and Lane prove just how vital satellite characters can be to a story of knotty, difficult romance. Alwyn struggles to rise to the material at times, at his best when Nick is finally given permission to break down and finally feel something, anything.
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