Vittoria and Giovanna dancing together to Edith Piaf
"Vittoria and Giovanna," The Lying Life of Adults, "Chapter 1: Beauty," directed by Edoardo De Angelis, 2022, (Netflix)

As a young woman finds her life spiraling, she latches onto her estranged aunt, who might be the person she needs to navigate the next chapter of her life.

Aired (Netflix) January 4, 2023
Episode Title Beauty
Director(s) Edoardo De Angelis
Writer(s) Elena Ferrante, Laura Paolucci, Francesco Piccolo, Edoardo De Angelis
Noted Characters
Giovanna Giordana Marengo
Andre Alessandro Preziosi
Nella Pina Turco
Ida Azzurra Mennella
Angela Rossella Gamba
Mariano Biagio Forestieri
Vittoria Valeria Golino


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What’s Happening To Her? – Giovanna, Andre, Nella

Giovanna is flunking out of school. You name a subject, she is getting an F or somewhere close, and neither her mom, Nella, nor her dad, Andre, seem able to understand what is going on. But, despite her hearing their disappointment, neither confront her as you’d expect them to.

We Recognize Something Different Too – Giovanna, Ida, Angela, Mariano

However, her parents aren’t the only ones who recognize there is a shift. Her close friends, Ida and Angela, see something ugly grow inside her and Mariano, a potential uncle of sorts, can pick up on something in the short time he is around her.

I Don’t Need Judgement, I Need Love – Giovanna, Vittoria, Andre, Nella

Giovanna (Giordana Marengo) talking to her friend
“Giovanna (Giordana Marengo),” The Lying Life of Adults, “Chapter 1: Beauty,” directed by Edoardo De Angelis, 2022, (Netflix)

In Giovanna’s household, being compared to Andre’s sister Vittoria is one of the ultimate insults. But, with it being noted Giovanna looks like her and has other similarities, this draws her to want to see her estranged aunt. Strangely, neither Nella nor Andre fights against this. They warn her, but Nella points to where Vittoria lives, and Andre even drives her to his sister’s house but doesn’t join her inside.

Instead, Giovanna ventures alone, and while Vittoria can be a bit short-tempered, she is also illuminating. In Vittoria’s mind, Andre is a control freak, and she, Vittoria, is going to be the one who helps awaken Giovanna to a different way of living. For she experienced what Andre’s ego could do to people, like her beloved Enzo. This leads to an overwhelming experience for Giovanna that makes her feel like she is floating.

But, rather than report to her dad the more positive side of things, she makes it appear this was a one-and-done visit to her aunt when this may be the first visit of many more.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Did Enzo kill himself?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Giovanna sneaking away to see and bond with aunt

Collected Quote(s)

Fear keeps you vigilant
— Vittoria



Giovanna and Vittoria Are the Kind Of Characters you Want To Latch Onto

Vittoria (Valeria Golino) talking to her niece
“Vittoria (Valeria Golino),” The Lying Life of Adults, “Chapter 1: Beauty,” directed by Edoardo De Angelis, 2022, (Netflix)

There is a way of writing women that is unmatched when it comes to Elena Ferrante. Whether you watch “My Brilliant Friend” or stumble onto this, there is no denying that strength is a given trait, but even in a person’s most bold moments, there is a vulnerability. Take Vittoria, for example. Demonized by her brother’s family and losing the love of her life, you can see a wall, a shell, and a strong bark, potentially backed with a dangerous bite.

Yet, around Giovanna, she is willing to expose her belly a bit. To be maternal in some way, or at least approachable enough to hope that, despite her toxic relationships, she can maybe form something with her niece. Someone who also seems to not necessarily have a chip on their shoulder, but isn’t necessarily for letting people in and seems a tad guarded.

Mind you, with her friends, she is willing to hear opinions and face that maybe she truly isn’t herself. But with her parents? It’s hard to say when the façade ends and her keeping the peace begins. But what is clear is that, as much as she loves her father and has a good relationship with her mom, Vittoria has the persona that Giovanna needs. She might be the key for Giovanna to learn what is real and what is the perception her father wants her to have.

Vittoria and Giovanna dancing together to Edith Piaf
The Lying Life of Adults: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Chapter 1: Beauty” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
“The Lying Life of Adults” makes it clear “My Brilliant Friend” may not have been the sole TV adaptation of a Ferrante novel to translate well. For while, yes, Giovanna and Vittoria are the main hooks, and everyone else needs to play catch up; surely, as we see more of their relationships with the others, they will bloom and set in place where needed.
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Giovanna and Vittoria Are the Kind Of Characters you Want To Latch Onto

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