Netflix Review – Sex Education (2019)

Sex Education is the latest Netflix Original to storm popularity this January. Starring Asa Butterfield (recently impressing in Saul Dibbs’s Journeys End, 2017), Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa and Emma Mackey, the coming-of-age comedy spans eight binge-worthy episodes.

Perhaps not the thing to watch with your parents, you can expect exactly what the title states. Adolescence being a notoriously difficult time of self-discovery, Sex Education follows Otis, the son of a sex therapist, who ends up becoming one himself for his college peers. A strange concept- but it works.

A teen drama with a witty twist, Sex Education perfectly balances reality with the fictional. The idyllic English landscape resides within a non-existent time frame. The wardrobe could be from practically any recent era- from the 1980’s to modern day. Meanwhile, slang words and modern attitudes are rooted firmly in the 21st century. Therefore bringing the universal experience of being a teenager into an acutely relevant perceptive. Gender, race, sexuality, home life and (obviously) sex, are all sensitively handled with timely messages.

Left: Emma Mackey, Middle: Asa Butterfield, Right: Connor Swindells

But don’t just watch it because its relevant and trendy. Watch it because it’s funny. And charmingly so. Laurie Nunn has achieved the closest thing to accuracy for a school drama…despite it’s confusing portrayal of the British education system (Sixth-form? School? College? Where are we?). This is probably done to appeal to US viewers who are accustomed to high-school rather than English institutions. But it is ultimately irrelevant. What matters is the shows sweet disposition, which allures audiences with humorous, relatable and, most importantly, developed characters.

Swerving away from stereotypes, Sex Education manages to explore important issues without burdening us with depressing realities. Conscientious and honest, yet escapist enough to still entertain. Nunn provides teenagers with the representation they deserve. Diverse, intellectual and meriting respect.

Sex Education is certainly allegorically blunt. Not to mention it’s abundance of biological jargon. Some people (especially older viewers) may find this approach a little top-heavy. Cringey, even. Personally, this wasn’t the case for me. Nunn is simply unafraid to tip-toe around topics that effect a lot of teenagers. And adults. Her unapologetic bravery should be commended. Sex Education is genuine, bold and prepared to laugh at itself- fitting for the age bracket that dominate most of Netflix’s subscriber stats.  But ultimately,  if you can’t handle the graphics, you don’t deserve the laughs.

Georgia May

Comedy, Drama | UK, 2019 | 18 | 11th Janaury 2019 | 8 Episodes | Netflix Originals | Creator; Laurie Nunn | Gillian Anderson, Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey,

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