For some reason, love has been the mainstay of psychological thrillers since ever. We have had the boyfriend from hell, we have had the girlfriend from hell, the ex-husband from hell and even stalkers and such. These films have been smash hits, and that’s probably because generations have identified with the characters.
In the post-modern era, we have had more intimate, less campy psychological thrillers that talk about relationships gone wrong. There are plenty, like Gone Girl, for instance. The latest addition is You, a Netflix Original web series that introduces a whole new facet to the aspect of unwanted love.
Joe Goldberg is a young bookstore manager who’s falling for Guinevere Beck, a broke graduate student who’s also an aspiring writer. Their complicated love story has tinges of evil, crime and has repercussions for their friends and family.
What’s Wow: You is choc-a-bloc with instant classic characters. The main as well as the supporting characters are well written and portrayed well. You is a modern story with modern characters. The writer, Caroline Kepnes, has done away with the white, black and even grey. What the series really brings forth is that people will believe whatever’s been presented to them – and the prejudices will always remain, come what may. With You, the series, Caroline has gone down the bold path where few writers have gone before – she informs the audience and the readers, bits and pieces of the characters, and damn full disclosure.
Penn Badgley does an amazing job of portraying the modern psychopath, a character’s that as sympathetic as chilling and dangerous. Its his character that’s a roller coaster ride for the audience. In the first few episodes, the audience will warm up to him, but the nervous chill begins only after the first few episodes roll out. To put in a nutshell, Joe Goldberg is the Norman Bates of the modern generation.
You will also win the audience’s heart because of Guinevere, the female protagonist. Streaming platforms have created some great female characters, flaws, scars and all – and Elizabeth Lail does an amazing job of bringing that character to screen.
You is a psychological thriller and it’s also a commentary on the modern social aspect. It gets a deep dive into how simple it has become for people to become disconnected because they think they are connected via the social network. The incidents in the series makes people look back wistfully to those days when friends used to check in on friends who haven’t been in touch for a while by simply knocking on their front doors.
What’s Blah: You is a sharp tale which an exciting, fresh premise. However, the screenplay falters a bit in the first episode – so casual audiences might just be fooled into believing that it’s a mopey romantic story. Take our advice, don’t. Maybe that’s the in joke for the number of directors attached to the project – they started making a rom-com but ended up making one of the best thrillers of the year.
Parting Shot: You will break all the clichés about romance that audiences have experienced ever. Watch this one.
Cast: Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Luca Padovan, Zach Cherry, Shay Mitchell
Developed by: Greg Berlanti, Sera Gamble
Directors: Lee Toland Rieger, Marcos Siega, Marta Cunningham, Kellie Cyrus, Erin Feeley, Martha Mitchell
‘You’ is now streaming on Netflix