It’s safe to say, I get a little buzz when I see an A24 film. They come with the expectation that they’re going to be visually stunning, have a quirky plot and filled with complex characters. A24s Euphoria ticks all three boxes and it’s an 8-episode series! Whoo!
Sam Lecinson the show’s creator has managed to smash the walls of conventional television and shines a light on today’s climate for teenagers. Tackling issues within social media use, relationships and addiction. All drawn from his own difficult teenage years, Euphoria takes a darker tone on such issues. Just a little warning, this is not for the faint of heart. Prepare to be uncomfortable, as Euphoria dives deep into all aspects of teen life in America; love, sex, friendship, tinder, drugs, anxiety and plenty more. Its use of graphic imagery and nudity has been a hot topic within the media. Some have slammed the use, but I believe it’s all necessary with the themes this show puts on display. You can’t have the good without the bad. From the get go this show isn’t going to please everyone, but it embraces being unapologetic.
Each episode is dedicated to telling the life story of 8 main characters. Every Actor shines within their roles. All giving gripping performances. Narrated by 16-year-old Rue (Played by Zendaya) we navigate her journey after a summer in rehab, caused by an accidental overdose. She is incredibly self-aware. Talking about the mistakes and feelings she is putting herself through, as if she is looking back at her decisions in disgust. You immediately begin to empathise with her as she drastically spirals downwards. One scene in particular, (which has stayed with me because of its brutal depiction), of Rue’s younger sister having an overdose, struggling to breath, chocking on her own vomit. Alarming, I know. This unfiltered approach to filmmaking makes everything much more honest and real. Further emphasising that you’re going to fall hard for these characters because how real the emotions seem to feel.
Every Character she encounters initially is heavily stereotyped, but only later to slowly be unravelled. Revealing complexities in their lives and personalities. It expands on the idea that everyone has their own issues. No matter how cool or popular you are, everyone is dealing with something. Strangely, what makes the series so hard hitting is that you can find pieces within the characters stories and identify with them. Some pleasant and some disturbing.
Visually the show is extraordinary. I haven’t seen such a beautifully shot series in while. Camera angles and transitions make the world of euphoria seem dreamy and otherworldly. An extremely well hidden one shot in episode four enhances the feelings of drowsiness and shows the level of intricacy that has been put into every element in the show. Scenes perfectly capture distortion and dizziness in ways that any cinematographer would be astonished. The heavy use of neon blues and purples contrast the dark subject matter and let’s not forget the incredible contemporary soundtrack that accompanies throughout the series.
What Euphoria Is
Euphoria risked being too much and affects you heavily. For a TV show to achieve and hold up expectations throughout every episode is a rarity. Once you understand that this series isn’t going to be an easy watch. You begin to really appreciate and love the characters and their flaws. Meaning the risk was worth it. So while it’s not for the faint-hearted, it’s certainly a must-watch.