Netflix’s latest psychological thriller series, You, will persuade viewers to delete all social media and buy a nice sturdy pair of curtains…
Released on Netflix on Boxing Day, the 10 episode series follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) and his pursuit to win over Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). A bookstore manager in New York City, Joe meets Guinevere (known as ‘Beck’ throughout the series) when she visits the store and the two bond over their love of books.
This may seem like the beginning of a standard Rom-Com, but it soon becomes clear that Joe’s growing infatuation with Beck is not quite normal. From the beginning of the first episode, we are introduced to Joe’s American Psycho-like commentary of the events that take place, and we learn Joe is willing to do pretty much anything to gain Beck’s affection (within about five minutes of meeting her).
Starting by excessively stalking Beck’s social media sites and finding out where she lives to spy on her through her (abnormally large) apartment window, Joe soon falls into obsession. From stealing items of Beck’s clothing, to following her around the city and memorising her daily routine, the behaviour Joe exhibits might make viewers wonder if he has done this before.
Based on the novel of the same name by Caroline Kepnes and developed by Greg Berlanti (Love, Simon, Riverdale) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural, The Magicians), You examines the fine line between love and obsession. We’ve seen countless psychological thrillers where a certain character engages in criminal behaviour for their own personal gain, but Joe tries to justify his behaviour by saying everything he does is to make Beck happier. Whether it’s monitoring all of her online activity or bumping off someone in Beck’s life who ‘isn’t good for her’, it appears throughout the show that Joe has convinced himself his actions are only for the good of Beck. This is why as the series progresses, watching the show often becomes an agonising battle between wanting Beck to find out about Joe’s behaviour, and worrying Joe will get caught out.
Although You can be overly dramatic at times in its dialogue and somewhat predictable in certain plot points, the unravelling of the complicated pasts and secrets held by the main characters as the series progresses is both captivating and chilling to watch. Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl) and Elizabeth Lail (Dead of Summer) both do an excellent job of portraying unpredictable characters with troubled backgrounds and do well at keeping viewers in the dark about what will happen next, leaving us wanting more.
Luckily for fans of the show, a second series is on the cards and will be based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel Hidden Bodies, a sequel to You.
Check out the trailer for You here.
By Olivia Hill.