Love is the cleanest feeling in the world. Perhaps the only really clean feeling. That message exudes the novels of Sally Rooney, one of the latest literary phenomena. Rooney’s two novels have both been bestsellers. And both have been adapted as a television series. First it was Normal People, a story about coming of age and first love. The series received great reviews and became a phenomenon as well. She now it is the turn of her first book, Conversations Between Friends, on HBO Max. Another model adaptation and another calculation error. Both Normal People and Conversations Between Friends would work better as movies. If there are movies that should have been series, the opposite also happens. In the case of Conversations between friends, an hour and a half would have sufficed. The more than five that the series has are excessive.

On the other hand, I understand the temptation to stretch as much as possible not just the Sally Rooney story, but its tone. Conversations among friends finds a way to transfer to images what in the written text is the total responsibility of the reader’s imagination. He finds her and gloats over her so much that sometimes we can think that (and how I hate this expression) nothing happens in the series. And many things happen, of course, but very few are actions. As in Normal People, the important thing in Conversations Between Friends is not what its characters do, but what they think and feel. How different those thoughts and feelings are depending on who lives each situation.

If in Normal People it was the class difference that marked the reactions of its two protagonists, in Conversations Between Friends the gap is generational. Two couples, one of them already dissolved, from two different generations that cross paths and, oh surprise, hook up. What is genuine love for one person may be just boredom for another. The same situation can be dreamlike and crude at the same time, renovating and toxic, important or banal. Telling that in images is not easy, but once achieved, it is not necessary to repeat it over and over again. Conversations between friends she likes herself so much that she falls into a permanent loop.

It is a series too presumptuous. When it advances it does it brilliantly, when it stagnates it is irritating. Like the movies of Luca Guadagnino. Or like his series, the petulant We Are Who We Are. Next to such a monument to pride, Conversations Between Friends shines with its honesty and simplicity. But there is also its catch: the good thing about finding the right tone to tell a story is that you can put the story together in much less time. Especially when that story, more than an intricate plot, is a concept. A very pure concept as well. Conversations between friends is as easy to understand as it is to abandon once you have understood it.

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