A Nearly Normal Family (2023) – Review

Netflix’s “A Nearly Normal Family” is a nearly normal crime story these days.


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“A Nearly Normal Family” General Information

Network Netflix
Genre(s) Crime

Drama

Thriller

Non-English (Swedish)

Noted Characters
Stella Alexandra Karlsson Tyrefors
Adam Björn Bengtsson
Ulrika Lo Kauppi
Chris Christian Fandango Sundgren

“A Nearly Normal Family” Plot Summary

Based on the novel by M.T. Evardsson, Netflix’s “A Nearly Normal Family” is a crime thriller that shows how far one family will go to protect their daughter. The Swedish miniseries is draped in muted colors and captures the grim atmosphere of murder and prison hanging over everyone’s heads. Unfortunately, the lack of mystery and slow pace make “A Nearly Normal Family” a chore to watch.

a nearly normal family
Lo Kauppi, Alexandra Karlsson Tyrefors, and Björn Bengtsson star in “A Nearly Normal Family” (Netflix, 2023)

When 19-year-old Stella (Alexandra Karlsson Tyrefors) is accused of murdering her boyfriend (Christian Fandango Sundgren), Stella’s father and mother are left shocked. Despite commonly seeing their daughter, they have very little insight into her life, but the parents try to prove their daughter’s innocence. The father (Björn Bengtsson) and mother (Lo Kauppi) start to conduct their own investigation and hide evidence that might implicate their daughter. While they are afraid of what they will learn about their daughter, the parents are also afraid of what they’ll learn about themselves. 

The Swedish series unfolds with flashbacks of Stella with her new lover and the present, when Stella’s parents must deal with the aftermath of their daughter’s charge. Questions about guilt, law, and justice all arise in “A Nearly Normal Family” as the family learns more and more about each other and the secrets they keep. The episodes range from 30 to 50 minutes as we learn a little more about what happened that fateful night between Stella and Chris. The problem is that “A Nearly Normal Family” plays out exactly how we expect it to, and in a market of murder stories that come out every day, “A Nearly Normal Family” has nothing new to say. 

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. “A Nearly Normal Family” is TV-MA and depicts and discusses sexual assault. A content warning for all. 

Discussion Items

Let us know your thoughts in the comments:

  1. What were your thoughts on “A Nearly Normal Family?” What did it do well, or could have done better? 

“A Nearly Normal Family” Review


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Our Rating: Mixed (Stick Around)

Notable Performances, Moments, or Episodes

Episodes To Anticipate

“Chapter 5” and “Chapter 6” are the strongest, as all secrets are revealed and they show each character at their highest and lowest moments.

a nearly normal family 1
Alexandra Karlsson Tyrefors as Stella in “A Nearly Normal Family” (Netflix, 2023)

Highlights

A Sincere Depiction of SA Survivors 

“A Nearly Normal Family” understands and takes careful measures to show that when someone is sexually assaulted, the crime impacts one’s entire family. Worse yet, the law is rarely on the survivor’s side, and the burden of proof is difficult to overcome. The behavior and reasoning behind each character’s reaction to sexual assault are realistic and tragic.

Low Points

Who is the Sandell Family? 

Stella and her parents spend most of the series separated, each off on their own mini-adventure. The problem with showing the family separated and dealing with Stella’s accused murder is that we never get a sense of why this family cares about each other or any happy moments between them. Because of the grim atmosphere and the lack of union, the Sandell family and their relationship are distant, lacking, and awkward to watch. 

On The Fence

The Drawing Out of the Predictable 

The six episodes of “A Nearly Normal Family” play out mostly as you would expect. There’s no tremendous twist, epiphany, or redemption arc in the story. Stella is accused of murder; we faintly understand why, and that’s what’s confirmed by the final episode. It’s a straightforward depiction of murder and assault, but it doesn’t offer any new insight or message in a media market oversaturated with crime stories.

a nearly normal family 5
“A Nearly Normal Family” is as exciting as this picture. Who lets a family pose this way?

Also Worth Mentioning

  • Renewal Status: “A Nearly Normal Family” is a 1-season deal. The story ends with episode 6. 

Who Is This For?

Fans of murder mysteries and family crime stories might enjoy “A Nearly Normal Family.” 

Recommendations

If you like this show, we recommend:

  1. Dear Child
  2. Burning Body
  3. A Day and a Half

Check out our TV-Series page for our latest recaps and reviews, as well as recommendations.

a nearly normal family
A Nearly Normal Family (2023) – Review
Overall
The problem is that “A Nearly Normal Family” plays out exactly how we expect it to, and in a market of murder stories that come out every day, “A Nearly Normal Family” has nothing new to say. 
Highlights
A Sincere Depiction of SA Survivors 
Disputable
Who is the Sandell Family?
The Drawing Out of the Predictable 
72

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