'My Brilliant Friend' Review: Will the New Year bring traces of a "civil war" as Lenu has claimed?
Lila and Lenu are about to enter a new chapter, and this time it will be visited by an unexpected yet familiar stanger.
Lila and Lenu watched as a New Year's Eve celebration in their neighborhood turned into the early traces of a Civil War in the fourth episode of HBO's adaptation of the first book of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels, 'My Brilliant Friend'. The story follows the plight of two young girls whose friendship is put to test not just by the feud in the neighborhood between the rich and the poor, but by also how the brilliance of one friend is perceived as a threat to the intellect by the other friend. Starring Margherita Mazzucco (as Elena/Lenu) and Gaia Girace (as Raffaella/Lila), the Saverio Costanzo-created show is set against the dangerous but fascinating Naples, Italy, in the 1950s, which can be said to play a distinguished character by itself.
The inordinate dynamics between the characters have shaped the basic platform of the fourth episode. On the verge of womanhood, Lila and Lenu try to bring together people from the different sections of the neighborhood to celebrate a New Year that will hopefully bring new acquaintances and establish the bond between the poor and the rich. However, that didn't happen as what could have been a celebration soon turns into a miniature battle of fireworks between the Solaras and the Spagnuolos, and Don Achille’s family. The episode ended on a grim note when creator Costanzo left us with a blurred out scene of smog, as Lila and Lenu realize that their attempt to change things has failed, yet again.
So, what now? Will the girls be able to overcome the burning feud or will they ultimately succumb to it? While there are chances of neither happening anytime soon, we can still assume what might await the girls when the story continues in the fifth episode. Here are the three things that you need to look out for:
1. Lila, the dream girl
Following his turbulent interaction with Lila in the fourth episode, Marcello Solaras (played by Elvis Esposito), approaches her with a proposal that he had in his dream. The two started off on a chaotic note when Marcello sneaked behind Lila and began feeling her up as she danced on her own. While for Lila it was only a dance, for the rest of the gang- especially, Pasquale (played by Eduardo Scarpetta), it was a move of betrayal. Realizing that her unmindfulness had actually hurt her friends, Lila went on to learn about the Solaras' involvement in the black market which had resulted in their unfair gain of wealth.
We can clearly say that Lila will never accept the proposal, but what will Marcello do then? Will he turn back and forget it like a bad dream or will he take up yet another means to bring down the Spagnuolos and Don Achille's family?
2. The Shoemaker and The Elf
In spite of her brilliance, Lila is unable to attend school as she is required to stay home to help out her father. However, that never kept her from using her brilliance to design shoes which could be afforded only by the rich. While her father completely denied the idea, Lila did not stop from designing the first shoe but she was not satisfied with the result because the shoe was not perfectly made as it still soaked in water. In the upcoming episode, we can hope that the show will probably have its first customer, and maybe it will be somebody completely unexpected.
If the shoe is actually bought by the one who Lila despises, will she still consider it a success as a shoemaker? Or will she turn away from the customer considering the differences that have shrouded their families for decades?
3. The Clever One
In the promo trailer for the fifth episode, we hear the elderly Lenu claiming that she had pledged to protect Lila always, and it seems that Lila is about to set out on a daunting journey very soon. As her father would never allow her to try her hand in anything out-of-the-box, Lila will probably take the daring step of showcasing the shoe to her father. Unfortunately, he might not be very satisfied with his daughter's work, and as we can see he probably even hits her so that she does not repeat it. However, with Lenu's faith and her own intellect, we can assume the Lila will find out a way to make her designs come to people's attention.
But how will she do that? The clip also shows that Lila gets involved in a brief brawl and probably even gets hurt. Maybe, unlike Lenu who has been allowed by her father to carry on with her education, Lila will have to go the extra mile to make people realize how much she can contribute to the society. The fifth episode will see the girls' friendship being tested as the world around them crashes under the ongoing turmoil between the families in the neighborhood. What will the girls do to put this chaos to an end? To find out, catch up on 'My Brilliant Friend' Episode 5 on December 2 on HBO.
Watch the preview for Episode 5 below: