Recounting her own sexual assault story, Michaela Coel delivers a breathtaking exploration of modern relationships and consent.

michaela-coel stars as Arabella in this modern day telling of sexual assualt in I May Destroy You

BBC: I May Destroy You

michaela-coel stars as Arabella in this modern day telling of sexual assualt in I May Destroy You
BBC: I May Destroy You

Two years ago, BAFTA winner Michaela Coel spoke at Edinburgh TV Festival where she stunned the crowd with the retelling of her sexual assault story. The Chewing Gum creator detailed her harrowing experience of going for drinks, then the next day having flashbacks to a sexual assault that she couldn’t recall.

The night in question is the inspiration behind her latest provocative BBC One drama about sexual consent and modern relationships. I May Destroy You is a retelling of an all-to-common #MeToo story: what started off as an innocent night packed with tequila shots and raving turns into foggy memories and waking nightmares as young writer Arabella tries to pieces together the painful details of the events leading up to that night.

Check out our review below…

WHAT: Writer’s block is the bane of every writer’s life, and with a book deadline looming Arabella tosses up between going out with friends Terry and Kwame and procrastinating on her impending deadline. But the fast-paced night turns slow when Arabella is left stumbling over napkins and straws barely able to stand. Jumping forward to the morning, the writer has no recollection of how she woke up in her office, with her draft sent on time. With a hazy migraine, a smashed iPhone and various cuts and bruises, something clicks with Arabella and what seems like a far-off nightmare becomes a half-forgotten sexual assault memory.

WHERE: Set in London town, we’re taken around backstreets and the energetic scene of Soho for this compelling drama. Arabella’s simple yet modern flat-share with her friends is also a focal point for the show.

STAR OF THE SHOW: We are introduced to Arabella as a witty character with sharp-tongued comebacks and all-telling facial expressions. But her story swiftly becomes heartbreaking as she comes to terms with her traumatic sexual assault. Breaking down the walls she built around the idea of the assault, the young writer opens up and attempts to navigate her mind following the weeks of the attack. Michaela Coel delivers an outstanding performance in telling the complexities of how the assault affects the survivors and their friends.

STAND OUT SCENE: So far, only two episodes are available for viewers, but one thing is clear: Arabella’s realisation and self-confrontation of the assault is truly saddening. Sitting in the police station with her good friend Kwame, Arabella breaks down in floods of tears as she is faced with the hard-hitting reality of what has occurred the night before. With nothing but silence soundtracking the soul-stirring scene, we are left with reeling with Arabella, with waves of emotion and compassion pouring out of the young writer and her best friend.

WHO TO WATCH IT WITH: The show sheds light on undependable and changeable friendships as we see the fun and adventurous Terry turn dismissive after the night in question. Zoom call your friends and set up a virtual cinema night for this drama.

WATCH IF: The eye-opening series sheds light on modern-day sexual assault, with date-rape drugs and consent all thrown into the mix. Friendship and the challenges faced by young creatives are also at the heart of this 12-part drama, depicting the challenges and nuanced exploration of sexual violence.

DON’T WATCH IF: The show might start off like a fun-filled millennial party but it quickly dives in deep to dangers of drinking and sexual assault. An important watch, but avoid if these scenes may be triggering to you.


Dayna Southall

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