A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY on Netflix is a new psychological thriller mini-series from Sweden (org. title: En helt vanlig familj). Told over six episodes and from multiple points of view. I was hooked from the start. Read our full A Nearly Normal Family review here!
A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY is a new Netflix mini-series with six episodes. It’s based on a book by the same title. Interestingly, it’s a Swedish book and series with the original title of En helt vanlig familj. This actually translates into “A perfectly normal family”.
And really, it is a perfectly normal family living in suburban Sweden. Or it was until a murder happens and the family is thrown into a grotesque situation. I loved how the story is told from multiple points of view early on, as this helps us understand why the characters act as they do. It was engaging and intriguing in all the right ways!
Continue reading our A Nearly Normal Family series review below. Find it on Netflix from November 24, 2023.
From nearly normal to a murder accusation
In A Nearly Normal Family, we meet the Sandell family. They really do come across as a very normal family with father Adam, a priest, and mother Ulrika, a lawyer, and their 19-year-old daughter Stella. Actually, the series does open with a scene from when Stella was 15 years old.
It helps us understand her and the family dynamic in general, so it is very relevant.
The members of the Sandell family are going about their seemingly average lives in a residential suburb until one day when everything changes. Stella’s parents are informed that their daughter is in custody. And it’s not for anything average or normal that you could in any way see coming.
Stella is accused of murder. Not something you hear every day or anything the priest and lawyer parents would expect. However, despite the issues within the family structure – that we get to see glimpses of before Stella is arrested for murder – her devastated parents will help Stella. Whatever it takes!
Many questions quickly arise. First and foremost: How well do they know their daughter and what is going on in her life? And do they even really know each other anymore?!
Put yourself in their place
What drew me in with the story in A Nearly Normal Family was both the plot itself and how it was told. Letting us experience the events from various sides helps us get into their psyche. It aids us in understanding and believing their actions are plausible.
Even when they do things that are clearly not entirely in line with the law. Also, we are in some very (dark) gray moral areas.
And yet, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would’ve done. This is something we’re confronted with from that opening scene. The one where Stella is just 15 years old. You have to put yourself in their place to understand why they make the choices we witness them make.
The cast of this series delivers extremely powerful portrayals. We meet characters entering the worst part of their lives. They may not be in the best place when the series opens, but things can clearly get much worse.
Watch A Nearly Normal Family on Netflix now!
Per Hanefjord is the director of this Netflix mini-series, and the scriptwriters are Hans Jörnlind and Anna Platt. This new Swedish mini-series is based on the book A Nearly Normal Family by Mattias Edvardsson. I have not read the book, so I can’t say if it follows the novel closely or takes a lot of liberties.
However, I do feel it’s a good thing that the Swedish novel is being turned into a Swedish mini-series. In terms of staying with the tone of the book, I mean. The runtime of the episodes varies a bit, but expect an average of 45 minutes for each episode.
Previously, we’ve seen several other strong Swedish Netflix series. One of the most obvious to mention alongside this one is Quicksand (2019). If you liked Quicksand, you have to check out A Nearly Normal Family. And vice versa, obviously. I was hooked from the start, so it can’t be anything but a solid recommendation from me.
The A Nearly Normal Family mini-series is on Netflix from November 24, 2023.
Director: Per Hanefjord
Screenwriters: Hans Jörnlind, Anna Platt
Cast: Alexandra Karlsson Tyrefors, Lo Kauppi, Björn Bengtsson, Melisa Ferhatovic, Christian Sundgren, Håkan Bengtsson, Cedomir Glisovic, Rasmus Troedsson, Vera Olin, Anna-Sara Kennedy, Pablo Leiva Wenger, Christoffer Willén, Robert Bengtsson
The world of a seemingly perfect family shatters when a shocking murder proves that they’re willing to make desperate moves to protect one another.