‘You’ is the one of the most recent Netflix series to get people talking. The series first came on to my radar after I saw it being discussed on Twitter in relation to its creepy vibe which naturally intrigued me. I decided to give the series a go one evening, mostly to procrastinate from writing my dissertation, which led to me binge watching all 10 episodes over the course of 3 days. I really should have been writing that dissertation, but I couldn’t risk the ending being spoiled- don’t worry this is a spoiler free review.
From the end of episode one I was hooked, the series is a creepy stalker drama with a weirdly humorous twist to it. The series is almost an anti-romantic comedy. Joe (Penn Badgley) is a bookshop manager who becomes obsessed with customer Beck (Elizabeth Lail). After finding out her name Joe proceeds to stalk Beck via social media, tracking down her house, place of work and learning her entire daily schedule. The stalking is scarily intense from the beginning but only gets worse through the series. You’ll probably find yourself feeling slightly paranoid about what you post online and who can see what.
What I really enjoyed about the series was how the story is narrated from Joe’s point of view, allowing him to somehow justify his actions and almost have you rooting for him. You are able to empathize with Joe on some level, especially when it comes to Beck’s questionable friends and on-and-off boyfriend. The inclusion of Paco (Joe’s neighbor’s son who he looks out for) makes Joe seem more normal and like the good guy. However, as the series goes on it becomes more difficult for Joe to justify his actions and the mask begins to slip, both he and you realise he’s in too deep. At the same time, you start to get a sense of Beck’s true colours. Joe unfairly romanticises Beck, he puts expectations on her that she cannot keep living up too. As the series goes on this begins to cause problems for both Joe and Beck.
‘You’ aims to highlight some of the weird and stalker-like things that leads often do in romantic comedies. When you see these things playing out in ‘You’, you start realising how questionable and manipulative some of these romantic gestures in rom-coms are. It shows how often we, the audience, can be swept up in romantic narratives and don’t think to question these ‘romantic’ actions. ’You’ attempts to draw attention to this issue by making it glaringly obvious how wrong these actions are.
‘You’ concludes with a satisfying end to the series’ narrative but leaves plenty of doors open for the second series which is due to start filming in the near future. I hope that the second series can continue the smart and conflicting narrative that made the first series unique.