Stylist: Why Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend will be your new TV obsession this winter

The new TV adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend is all we’d hoped for and more.

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Anna Fielding – Nov 21, 2018

Two girls play with dolls by a grate. The small, dark, furious one flings her friend’s doll into the basement. Not to be outdone, the blonde child sends the other doll down too. The girls look at each other. In trying to be bold, they’ve both lost something they care for. They are bonded and they have hurt each other.

The new TV adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend recreates that key scene just as you imagined. And what a relief. When books are as well-loved as Ferrante’s four Neapolitan Novels (with over 10 million copies sold), emotions run high. Although it started on 19 November,Stylist has been lucky enough to get a look at the first four episodes – here’s why you should tune in:

It stays incredibly close to the book

Yes, sometimes an adaptation will stray from the text and be all the more amazing (see The Handmaid’s Tale and Killing Eve), but we don’t think we could’ve borne major changes in this case. Ferrante worked with the director, Saverio Costanzo, and even supplied dialogue. He didn’t meet her though; the famously reclusive writer did it all over email.

The cast is perfect

The production company had a tough job. Not only did the actors need to look the part, the decision to have most of the dialogue in Fifties-era Neapolitan dialect made the search harder. They saw 500 adults and 9,000 children. But the end result was worth it.

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