Hulu’s ‘Conversations with Friends’ is an impactful romantic drama series that follows Frances and Bobbi, two students of Trinity College Dublin, who meet a talented writer named Melissa before their final year. As they get further involved in her social circles, Frances gets attracted to Melissa’s husband Nick. Their growing closeness soon starts impacting their lives and makes all four of them question their understanding of love, friendship, and marriage.
Set against the backdrop of contemporary Dublin, ‘Conversations with Friends’ realistically explores the intricacies of human relationships, making the viewers wonder if it is inspired by real events and people. If you wish to find that out as well, you’ve found an ally in us. Let’s begin!
Is Conversations with Friends a True Story?
Yes, ‘Conversations with Friends’ is partly based on a true story. It is adapted from Sally Rooney’s eponymous 2017 novel, which in turn, draws from her experiences as a university student. In a July 2017 interview, she shared that she was a competitive debater while studying at Trinity College Dublin and her observations of the people around her helped shape the novel.
“I thought, I have to very quickly now absorb the norms and the social behavior and the etiquette that will make me socially acceptable…And that certainly informed the novel. That’s how Frances feels with Melissa and their friends: I want these people to accept me. How do I do that? How do I observe them closely enough that I can fool them into thinking I can belong?” said Sally. She further stated that the character of Frances is from Mayo, Ireland, just like her, and is based on her own social surroundings.
The author added, “There are certainly elements of the social world that I inhabited growing up and then in college that I draw from. I mean, obviously, I studied English at Trinity, and I think the book is very much about observing a social milieu as much as anything else, and obviously, I chose to write about social circles that I felt I had an understanding of the norms and manners.”
However, Sally did clarify that even though the novel has autobiographical elements, the major part of the narrative is not about her real life. In addition, the economic backgrounds of the characters in the novel and the show reflect contemporary Dublin after the economic depression of the late 2000s. Sally elaborated on that, saying, “At one stage, Frances has got so little money that she can’t feed herself, and she has an unpaid internship at one point, and a minimum wage job, and she makes reference to several other minimum wage jobs she has had.”
The Irish author further added, “The characters read a lot and are very culturally literate, but they are not really privileged people. Nick and Melissa have a nice house, but they are not predatory capitalists or anything…they certainly occupy a cultural position that people associate with privilege, in that they are artists that lead a bohemian lifestyle.” Apart from this, ‘Conversations with Friends’ delves into the delicate dynamics of extramarital relationships through Frances and Nick’s affair. Since he is a married man and also older than her, Frances feels extremely conflicted about what their closeness means.
Furthermore, the show explores gender fluidity and LGBTQ+ relationships through Bobbi and Frances’ complicated equation. They share an intimate past, after which they break up and decide to remain friends. However, when Frances gets attracted to Nick, Bobbi feels uncomfortable about it. Later, she gets inclined toward Melissa, and they indulge in an affair themselves, leading to the lives of the four protagonists getting intertwined.
In addition, the series aptly translates the novel onto the screen and authentically depicts Dublin’s lifestyle and culture. Taking the aforementioned factors into consideration, we can say that even though ‘Conversations with Friends’ is not based on any particular people, it is about humans in general and depicts real emotions in a raw and relatable way.
Read More: Where Was Conversations With Friends Filmed?