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The critics are talking about the HBO adaptation of MY BRILLIANT FRIEND…

New York Times Editors’ Pick! “’My Brilliant Friend’ finds TV correlatives for the luminous art of Ferrante, the series’s unseen star.”

The Boston Globe: “The limited series, about the long, complex friendship between Elena and Lila, breathtakingly renders Ferrante’s world on the poor outskirts of Naples in all its simple beauty and cruelty.”

Rolling Stone: “This is a great show with a huge heart. Just be prepared for it to break yours every now and then.”

The Washington Post: “‘My Brilliant Friend’ shows us the richness and tragedy that lie beyond that male-defined frame.”

USA Today: “[A] beautiful, buoyant story of friendship, survival and growing up. "Friend" is, for lack of a better word, quite brilliant.” 

Time Magazine: “Amid a pop-culture landscape newly obsessed with the experience of the oppressed class that makes up half of the population, this is a rare story that sees its young women for who they are: human beings.” 

Entertainment Weekly: “Ferrante’s style is intimate, confessional, very funny. It has the unputdownable quality of one of those Twitter stories that used to go viral before Twitter was an all-consuming virus, a cheerful personal anecdote spiraling toward almost psychedelic rage.” 

Forbes: “This is the show women want and need to see now: it's a show about women's rage.” 

Foto by Eduardo Castaldo (© Wildside / Umedia)

Vox: “ . . . this new series is a knockout, excavating the core story of the books and creating a beautiful coming-of-age tale, brimming with nostalgia, sorrow, and humor. [ . . . ] it is a triumph of world-building, as potent and richly realized as any sci-fi or fantasy show.” 

The Atlantic: “The trick of the Neapolitan novels is that they feature some of the rawest scenes of female brutality and body horror in literature, contained within covers that seem to promise beach reads or romance novels instead. Lila and Lenù’s friendship is intoxicating because, like Lila, it’s gorgeous and savage, thrilling and toxic all at once.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “‘My Brilliant Friend,’ HBO’s adaptation of author Elena Ferrante’s four-book Neapolitan novels, is exquisite.” 

Buzzfeed News: “There’s a great deal of pleasure in seeing a world you’ve spent many hours visiting in your imagination brought to physical life, and Costanzo has done so with an almost maniacal perfectionism that’s compelling on its own. Which is to say, this show will no doubt win new fans who haven’t read Ferrante’s novels.” 

The Miami New Times: “Like My So-Called Life, the critically acclaimed 1990s drama about a teenage girl figuring out who she is, My Brilliant Friend gives a rather eloquent voice to the inner workings of young girls’ minds. It takes them seriously, paints them as fully human and lets them explain to us how it feels.” 

NOW Toronto: “My Brilliant Friend is a faithful and deliciously atmospheric adaptation of the first volume in the [Neapolitan Novels] series.” 

Huffington Post: “As the sort of Americans who pay for premium cable have begun to slowly bestir themselves to the possibilities of socialism, ‘My Brilliant Friend’ may be exactly the show they need to see: one that traces a political awakening that must necessarily be followed by hard, heartbreaking work.” 

Vanity Fair: “Where Elena is open and vulnerable, like a cracked-open raw egg, Lila is a hard-baked brick. [...] But then when the two are together, their glances crackle with recognition. They see everything, including all the things their parents encourage them to ignore.”  

The Guardian: “There’s still a notion that this is a story about stories, which is, after all, what Life Is Beautiful and Cinema Paradiso are also about: portrayals of our fantasies, and also – through censorship and human erasure – what we exclude. / But here this is not a postmodern game. That centrality of storytelling is a metaphor for potential and empowerment.”

New Yorker: “Ferrante’s language has materiality—an animal rawness, a floral prettiness (especially when Elena, naïve and polite, slips Lila’s influence), a mineral strangeness.”

The Cut: “My recommendation for would-be viewers is that you read the books first . . . ” 

The Nation: “Ferrante’s novels, coyly camouflaging themselves in the publishing world’s signifiers of female experience—brides, blue skies, and scenic beaches—are about flesh-and-blood womanhood: the power, the horror, the dark and unwanted thoughts; the feeling of everyday annihilation that comes with an existence defined entirely by other people’s ideas about you, other people’s needs; the forms of violence that appear, inevitably, in such a life. A woman can sit quietly in a café reading a Ferrante novel and never advertise the fact that she is destabilizing the very foundation of her gendered obedience.” 

The Daily Trojan: “By all indications, “My Brilliant Friend” is shaping up to become a hit. If the rest of the series matches the technical and artistic achievements of the first episode, the entire Neapolitan Novel series adaptations have potential to become a story that people talk about for generations to come.” 

Paste Magazine: “[Ferrante’s] evocative, honest, piercing observation of female friendship in the “Neapolitan novels” (of which My Brilliant Friend is the first) is amazing, and haunting, and beautiful. It’s also a coming-of-age story about language itself, about vernacular and “common tongues” and the remarkable transformative power of harnessing words, about how our languages define us as people, as communities, as tribes.” 

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