I May Destroy You Review

City Countdown Cultural Editor Beatrice Tridimas reviews Michaela Coel's much discussed new BBC One drama I May Destroy You.

Electrifying. Honest. Bold. Michaela Coel’s new BBC series, I May Destroy You, is a daring and eye-opening exploration of sexual assault, female friendship and self.

Coel sets us up at the end of the first episode through the shocking revelation of Arabella’s sexual assault for a series packed full of unexpected turns and poignant symbolism.

Witty, clever and deeply important, I May Destroy You is yet another attestation to Coel’s genius writing. Coel is not afraid to face deeply complicated and personal issues head on in this open and honest story inspired by her own experiences.

When writer Arabella has flashbacks from a night gone wrong, the story of her sexual assault unfolds, wrapped up in an exploration of sexual relationships, consent and sexual identity.

Coel examines these issues from every angle, never failing to dissect their multiple and various dimensions. She constantly challenges the audience as she grapples with issues of homosexual sexual assault, non-consensually removing condoms, victim-blaming, withholding information before sex. 

Just as we begin to unscramble what we find right or wrong, Coel drops another layer to the story and asks, what do you make of this? At times shocking and uncomfortable, I May Destroy You leaves the audience alert and questioning.

Coel’s writing is utterly clever. Rife with symbolism, intricate in detail, every second is vital. She also offers us something refreshingly real. Real friendships, real characters whose actions are dictated by real enjoyment, real emotions. A real London that is not romanticised or overly-gritty. Real experiences with real and honest outcomes. She can’t wrap it up too nicely because that’s just not life.

And underlying these loveable characters are fantastic performances from Coel herself, Weruche Opia and Papa Essiedu in his break-through role as Kwame.

For every moment that it is alarming, I May Destroy You is also utterly inspiring, heart-warming and celebratory of powerful friendships. A must-watch for any and every one, I May Destroy You is yet another exceptional series from Michaela Coel.

More information about Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You can be found here.

For information on other great shows to watch on television, please click here.

close

The city:countdown Newsletter

Sign up for London news, previews, exclusives and weekly prizes.

-London's Best Events-
What: new drama
When: available to stream
Where: BBC iPlayer