I remember reading the book maybe four or five years ago, and it had a deep impact on me: lots of as of then unspoken (for me) topics were brought up, so it was really interesting and profound. Cue this new Netflix series: I had to watch it.
What I really liked about it:
- The performances offered here by this ensemble cast of pretty unknown actors are pretty pretty good, with special notice on Clay’s and Hannah’s performances of course.
- The series is not a direct representation of the book, but rather is merely based on it. The main elements of Jay Asher’s novel are there, but there’s a big subplot that the writers came up with that I don’t remember being on the book. However, it doesn’t harm the overall feeling of the history, as all new elements could have perfectly been on the book.
- The cinematography is mesmerising for a series that sets out to put message over style. The continuous jumps in time clearly define the contrast between the life of Hannah and the life of those who were left after her demise, both stylistically and plot-wise.
- The soundtrack is pretty damn cool. Plus, did anybody catch that both Clay and Hannah have Arcade Fire posters in their rooms? Shoutout to the set decorators.
The only thing I can complain about objectively about the series is the length of the episodes. Though, as said, the subplots were compelling and interesting enough and loyal to the original material, it felt at times like a lot of stuff could have been let on the cutting floor and the series wouldn’t have hurt from it.
After finishing the series, this is what I can say: for somebody like me who, first of all, has read the book, second, has explored works of art that dive deeper into the issues portrayed here, such as sexual abuse and suicide, and third, does not live in the high school atmosphere anymore, the emotional impact of this series is minimal. However, picture being 15 and feeling like Hannah, or going through what Jessica goes, or even acting like Justin or Bryce: I would like to believe that this series can be the gateway for those teenagers to, on the one hand, dive into more serious films, shows or books about this topic, and, on the other hand, start to deal with the issues portrayed in the show, because it is imperative that they gain awareness on this topics.
Also, Netflix executives, please don’t make a second season to cash in on this.