Joe Goldberg is a bookstore manager who has a passion for the books he sells, he wants nothing more than to find a girl and fall in love. When he meets Guinevere Beck a dark side appears when he uses the Internet to manipulate her and become part of her life.
You has ten episodes each around 50 minutes long and that means it is the perfect length for easy binge watching on Netflix. The series was shown on Lifetime in the US and thanks to Netflix who bought the international rights making it and original series. They have fully taken over for season 2 which has already been announced.
What would you do for love?
That is the question which is at the core of this modern take on a “love story” mixing a nice meeting and possible attraction showing how it can quickly develop into a scary obsession. The internet and social media being very much to blame for all of this. From the first episode I found it frightening how easy someone can find out where you are, where you live and what you like just from a few clicks on your profile. Stalkers paradise really when you look at Instagram which was one of the main social media accounts in this series.
The thing is though Joe actually seems like quite a nice guy and you find yourself rooting for him and wanting Beck to notice him. While he is telling the story you are engrossed in the fact he is doing it because he cares and he wants to make her happy. Until of course you remember he is a complete psycho, stalking her reading the messages on the phone she thought was lost. He knew too much and used this to gain her trust and start a relationship.
Beck isn’t really the most likeable of people either though which certainly does not help you being fully bothered about her. Although I guess with some of her terrible choices she then feels more normal and real. But it never really makes a massive amount of sense why Joe picked Beck to try to get.
Throughout the ten episodes we get plenty of twists and turns including murder as well, which was something that I was not expecting but certainly added more of an edge at times. Something I really loved with Joe and his relationship with Paco who he really was trying to help and lending him books to read as his mother put up with an abusive boyfriend whilst also abusing herself with drugs.
If it wasn’t for that part of the story I don’t think you would feel so much for Joe, but that shows a different side to him. We also get to find out more about his upbringing in flashback form which is certainly the cause of his psycho personality. Not getting along with Beck’s friends especially Peach, maybe because they were both similar in wanting Beck all to themselves? That was certainly possible.
Throughout you cannot help but laugh when Joe mentions something about stalking or being possessive when he is the worst one out of everyone. Beck had plenty of secrets though and she was not as clean-cut as she may first seem, at least the character had depth and kept everything interesting.
Performance wise I thought Penn Badgley was brilliant as Joe, showing a great range of emotions and creating such a sadistic yet likeable character. Luca Padovan as Paco was truly outstanding though and for such a young actor stole so many different scenes. Certainly one to watch out for in the future!
This series is well worth watching and will make you think about your social media account and if having them on private is actually the best idea in the world (although if you accept people you don’t know I guess you might as well just have it public). It scares you into wondering how many people could be obsessed with you and if you are actually obsessed with someone you don’t actually know. Remember social profiles are not the real person, they are a version that person either wants to be or wants to be seen as being!