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9th May 2022

Will Conversations with Friends live up to expectation?

Dealing with more mature characters than Rooney’s sophomore novel, Conversations follows Frances and Bobbi, recent graduates and ex-girlfriends-turned-friends.
Will Conversations with Friends live up to expectation?
Photo: William Murphy @ flickr

Another Sally Rooney adaptation is coming to BBC iPlayer on May 15th which means we should all prepare ourselves to feel emotionally devastated all summer.

This time it’s Conversations with Friends, Rooney’s first novel released in 2017, that’s getting the silver screen treatment in safe hands with the team behind 2020’s lockdown sensation Normal People.

Dealing with more mature characters than Rooney’s sophomore novel, Conversations follows Frances and Bobbi, ex-girlfriends who are still friends and recent graduates. When they meet accomplished photographer Melissa and her husband Nick, a failing actor, at a poetry open-mic night a complex affair begins.

The most pivotal part of the story is the chemistry between Frances (Alison Oliver) and Nick (Joe Alwyn), so if this aspect of the show falls flat then so will the jeopardy and secrecy in their relationship.  The adaptation also boasts an impressive cast of recognizable faces such as Sex Education and Girls actor Jemima Kirke as elegant Melissa and relative newcomer Sasha Lane as incorrigible Bobbi.

Much of the criticisms surrounding the book were concerning the unlikability and coldness of the characters. Conversation with Friends is a little more adult than Normal People, since the characters are in a different stage of their lives there is a greater distance between the audience and character as we don’t get to see them growing up.

However, so many coming of age stories are focused around teenagerhood, when a lot of the real maturing we do is when we’re out in the world on our own, I’m intrigued to see how this stage of life is depicted onscreen, particularly with queer characters.

Look forward to and expect multiple shots of Dublin and Trinity College, a hauntingly brilliant Phoebe Bridger’s track written exclusively for the show, subtle class commentary, wine drinking and a LOT of heartache.



Pip Carew is a third-year student at the University of Manchester studying Film Studies and English Literature. As head editor of the film section, she enjoys writing cultural journalism and has interviewed many industry professionals. After graduation Pip hopes to pursue a career in journalism with anyone who will let her write.

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