Valeria: The overly free adaptation of Elisabet Benavent’s novels on Netflix

It is not necessary that you have read In the shoes of Valeria, the first novel of the successful tetralogy of the Spanish writer Elisabet Benavent, to enjoy this new peninsular proposal from peliculas on-line Netflix.

The Valeria series is an open adaptation and it takes many licenses from the original material. Her central character, Valeria (Diana Gomez), is a fictional writer approaching her thirties and who has author blockade, impostor syndrome and a husband who doesn’t pay much attention to her. Luckily Valeria continues to have a solid relationship with her friends: Lola (Silma Lopez), Carmen (Paula Malia) and Nerea (Teresa Riott). The four share a group, Amigas 4ever, to which constant messages are sent and where Valeria leaves endless voice messages and that could almost be described as podcasts.

It is in the friendship between these four independent and professional women (Lola is a translator, Carmen is a publicist and Nerea is a lawyer) where both the series and the book have one of their strongest ingredients. The four friends often meet to talk, tell each other about life, have a drink or simply confess their love, personal or work concerns.

“Do you remember when we thought we were going to have it all at 30?” Reflects Carmen in one of those sessions.

This series is a example of good adaptation and script

With adaptation and script by Maria Lopez Castaño ( Physics and Chemistry ) and Benavent as production supervisor, the series takes a more active role than the novels anchoring its characters in Madrid. ValeriaIt is allowed to make a critical comment on contemporary Spanish society (before the coronavirus crisis, it is understood) highlighting new technologies and their alteration of the established order. There are references to the taxi drivers’ war with Uber drivers, to the exorbitant rental price due to the competition caused by Airbnb or to the transformation of certain professions due to social networks. Valeria’s husband, Adrian (Ibrahim Al Shami J.), is a photographer and one of his colleagues by profession reflects on how “the phone has screwed up everything.” Adrian will end up having to work recording the yoga sessions of a youtuber.

Synopsis

Beyond that point of social criticism, Valeria is still a guilty pleasure of easy consumption. The series contains a lot of humor. Especially in the camaraderie of the four protagonists. “You give me life. Well, you and a good dick,” says the always daring Lola to her friends. “The world is made for couples. Look Snapchat, lately all the filters are for two”, reflects in turn a Carmen momentarily frustrated by her singleness.

Although the romantic element is the defining ingredient of this series. To the marriage crisis of Valeria it is added to know a friend of Lola, Victor (Maxi Iglesias), very tempting. In a television version of the character far more interesting than the book, Victor is an architect who has lived in Istanbul, Berlin and New York designing passive house buildings (which do not consume much energy). She takes Valeria to see exhibitions by Hungarian artists and says things like: “Don’t take that job, do what really fills you. Better to regret it than to stay with the desire”, when Valeria considers accepting a job as a guardian in. Irresistible, go.

One of Valeria’s pleasures, just as it is in the book, is seeing her protagonist struggling between desire and temptation. Delight in her never-innocent interactions with Victor and be seduced by this contemporary-romantic story. It is true that the cast of Valeria, except perhaps for the actresses who play Lola and Carmen, seemed to me lacking in tables. But the series works despite this.

Furthermore Valeria compensated in other ways. There are frank conversations about female orgasm, unsatisfactory sex, polyamorous relationships, couple crisis, open relationships, sexual identity, gender identity, the #MeToo movement, feminism and the fact that in a certain app appointments the longest relationships are going to be “two powders with the same uncle”.

I do not rule out that this has been accentuated by my boredom by the monotonous running of the bulls in recent weeks, but I found the series especially colorful and lively. In its decoration of interior spaces, in the choice of narrow streets and bustling squares that it portrays, in the photography of open balconies.

And well yes, there are many sex scenes in Valeria. But there is something that I found much more erotic in the series: her clothes. There is no time that the characters in this series do not wear the perfect model. Whether it’s a lemon yellow blazer suit, a pencil skirt with a double breasted blazer and Prince of Wales check, a sleeveless white blazer or just a waist bag-shaped waist bag.

And if Valeria is visually rich, the musical themes don’t stop sounding either. The soundtrack is eclectic enough to include songs like ” Can I Go On ” by Sleater-Kinney, ” Emergency ” by Icona Pop or ” Dolor ” by Amparito. There is no shortage of the most mellow songs such as ” July Flame ” by Laura Veirs, ” Technicolor Beat ” by Oh Wonder or ” Summer Rain ” by Everlast and the recurring and very successful use of ” Fuego ” by Bomba Estereo to express the mood of one of the protagonists.

Conclusion

Of course, if you enjoyed the pages of the original book and are a fan of Benavent’s novels, I do not rule out that the series does not end up satisfying you. From the beginning of the series, Valeria stands out as an open and free adaptation. But the plot deviates a lot from what happened in the first book of this saga from its fifth and sixth episodes. Neither Benavent’s cameo in the second episode of the series just made up for the lack of fidelity with the original material.

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