My Brilliant Friend (TV series)

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My Brilliant Friend
My Brilliant Friend title card.png
Created bySaverio Costanzo
Based onNeapolitan Novels
by Elena Ferrante
Written by
Directed bySaverio Costanzo
  • Gaia Girace
  • Margherita Mazzucco
  • Elisa Del Genio
  • Ludovica Nasti
  • Anna Rita Vitolo
  • Luca Gallone
  • Imma Villa
  • Antonio Milo
  • Alessio Gallo
  • Valentina Acca
  • Antonio Buonanno
  • Dora Romano
Narrated byAlba Rohrwacher
Composer(s)Max Richter
Country of origin
  • Italy
  • United States
Original language(s)Neapolitan
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Francesco Nardella
  • Luigi Marinello
  • Sara Polese
  • Laura Paolucci
Production location(s)
CinematographyFabio Cianchetti
Editor(s)Francesca Calvelli
Camera setupLuigi Andrei
Running time53–64 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network
First shown inUnited States
Original releaseNovember 18, 2018 (2018-11-18) –
present (present)
External links

My Brilliant Friend (Italian: L'amica geniale) is an Italian-American drama television series based on the novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante. It is the first of four novels in the Neapolitan Novels series to be adapted for television.[1] The series is a co-production between American premium cable network HBO and Italian networks RAI and TIMvision.[2] It premiered on HBO on November 18, 2018 and on Rai 1 and TIMvision on November 27, 2018.[2][3]

A second season, based on Ferrante's second Neapolitan Novel, The Story of a New Name, was confirmed in December 2018.[4] The first two episodes will be shown in Italian cinemas from January 27–29, 2020, and the season will premiere on TV on Rai 1 on February 10, 2020, and on HBO in March 2020.[5][6]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Gaia Girace as Raffaella "Lila" Cerullo[7]
    • Ludovica Nasti as young Raffaella "Lila" Cerullo[7]
  • Margherita Mazzucco as Elena "Lenù" Greco[7]
    • Elisa Del Genio as young Elena "Lenù" Greco[7]
  • Anna Rita Vitolo as Immacolata Greco, Elena's mother
  • Luca Gallone as Vittorio Greco, a porter and Elena's father
  • Antonio Milo as Silvio Solara, owner of the Bar Solara
  • Imma Villa as Manuela Solara, Silvio's wife
  • Alessio Gallo as Michele Solara, Silvio and Manuela's son
  • Valentina Acca as Nunzia Cerullo, Lila's mother
  • Antonio Buonanno as Fernando Cerullo, a shoemaker and Lila's father
  • Dora Romano as Miss Oliviero, Elena and Lila's elementary school teacher


  • Antonio Pennarella as Don Achille Carracci, the local mobster
  • Nunzia Schiano as Nella Incardo, Miss Oliviero's cousin


The Cerullos
  • Gennaro De Stefano as Rino Cerullo, Lila's older brother
    • Tommaso Rusciano as young Rino Cerullo
The Grecos
  • Alba Rohrwacher as Elena Greco (voice-over)
    • Elisabetta De Palo as elderly Elena Greco
    • Ingrid Del Genio as child Elena Greco
  • Matteo Castaldo as Peppe Greco, Elena's younger brother
    • Emanuele Nocerino as young Peppe Greco
  • Raffaele Nocerino as Gianni Greco, Elena's younger brother
    • Thomas Noioso as young Gianni Greco
  • Cristina Fraticola as Elisa Greco, Elena's younger sister
    • Sara Mauriello as young Elisa Greco
The Carraccis
  • Sarah Falanga as Maria Carracci, Don Achille's wife
  • Giovanni Amura as Stefano Carracci, Don Achille's son
    • Kristijan Di Giacomo as young Stefano Carracci
  • Federica Sollazzo as Pinuccia Carracci, Don Achille's daughter
    • Giuliana Tramontano as young Pinuccia Carracci
  • Fabrizio Cottone as Alfonso Carracci, Don Achille's son
    • Valerio Laviano Saggese as young Alfonso Carracci
The Pelusos
  • Gennaro Canonico as Alfredo Peluso, a highly skilled carpenter
  • Lia Zinno as Giuseppina Peluso, Alfredo's wife
  • Eduardo Scarpetta as Pasquale Peluso, Alfredo and Giuseppina's elder son
    • Francesco Catena as young Pasquale Peluso
  • Francesca Pezzella as Carmela Peluso, Alfredo and Giuseppina's daughter
    • Francesca Bellamoli as young Carmela Peluso
The Cappuccios
  • Pina Di Gennaro as Melina Cappuccio, a crazy widow
  • Ulrike Migliaresi as Ada Cappuccio, Melina's daughter
    • Lucia Manfuso as young Ada Cappuccio
  • Christian Giroso as Antonio Cappuccio, Melina's son
    • Domenico Cuomo as young Antonio Cappuccio
The Sarratores
  • Emanuele Valenti as Donato Sarratore, a train controller
  • Fabrizia Sacchi as Lidia Sarratore, Donato's wife
  • Francesco Serpico as Nino Sarratore, Donato and Lidia's elder son
    • Alessandro Nardi as young Nino Sarratore
  • Miriam D'Angelo as Marisa Sarratore, Donato and Lidia's daughter
    • Cristina Magnotti as young Marisa Sarratore
  • Catello Buonomo as Pino Sarratore, Donato and Lidia's son
    • Michele Di Costanzo as young Pino Sarratore
  • Federica Barbuto as Clelia Sarratore, Donato and Lidia's daughter
    • Federica Guarino as young Clelia Sarratore
  • Mattia Iapigio as Ciro Sarratore, Donato and Lidia's son
    • Gioele Maddi as young Ciro Sarratore
The Scannos
  • Ciro Pugliese as Nicola Scanno, a greengrocer
  • Marina Cioppa as Assunta Scanno, Nicola's wife
  • Giovanni Buselli as Enzo Scanno, Nicola and Assunta's son
    • Vincenzo Vaccaro as young Enzo Scanno
  • Giorgia Mongiello as figlia Scanno.
The Solaras
  • Elvis Esposito as Marcello Solara, Manuela and Silvio's son
    • Pietro Vuolo as young Marcello Solara
  • Adriano Tammaro as young Michele Solara, Manuela and Silvio's son
The Spagnuolos
  • Mimmo Ruggiero as Mr. Spagnuolo, pastry chef at Bar Solara
  • Patrizia Di Martino as Rosa Spagnuolo, his wife
  • Rosaria Langellotto as Gigliola Spagnuolo, their daughter
    • Alice D'Antonio as young Gigliola Spagnuolo
  • Valentina Arena as Jolanda, a stationer
  • Vittorio Viviani as Mr. Ferraro, the librarian and an elementary school teacher
  • Riccardo Palmieri as Gino, Elena's classmate and first boyfriend
  • Sergio Basile as Professor Gerace, Elena's high school teacher
  • Anna Redi as Professor Galiani, Elena's high school teacher
  • Antonio Maglione as Alfonso, a friend of Vittorio Greco's


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S./Italy viewers
1"The Dolls"
"Le bambole"
Saverio CostanzoElena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio CostanzoNovember 18, 2018 (2018-11-18) (HBO)
November 27, 2018 (2018-11-27) (RAI)
0.242[8] and 7.458[9]
2"The Money"
"I soldi"
Saverio CostanzoElena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio CostanzoNovember 19, 2018 (2018-11-19) (HBO)
November 27, 2018 (2018-11-27) (RAI)
0.128[10] and 6.729[9]
"Le metamorfosi"
Saverio CostanzoElena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio CostanzoNovember 25, 2018 (2018-11-25) (HBO)
December 4, 2018 (2018-12-04) (RAI)
0.244[11] and 7.302[12]
4"Dissolving Boundaries"[a]
"La smarginatura"
Saverio CostanzoElena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio CostanzoNovember 26, 2018 (2018-11-26) (HBO)
December 4, 2018 (2018-12-04) (RAI)
0.151[13] and 6.725[12]
5"The Shoes"
"Le scarpe"
Saverio CostanzoElena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio CostanzoDecember 2, 2018 (2018-12-02) (HBO)
December 11, 2018 (2018-12-11) (RAI)
0.291[14] and 6.699[15]
6"The Island"
Saverio CostanzoElena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio CostanzoDecember 3, 2018 (2018-12-03) (HBO)
December 11, 2018 (2018-12-11) (RAI)
0.210[16] and 6.699[15]
7"The Fiancés"
"I fidanzati"
Saverio CostanzoElena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio CostanzoDecember 9, 2018 (2018-12-09) (HBO)
December 18, 2018 (2018-12-18) (RAI)
0.318[17] and 6.974[18]
8"The Promise"
"La promessa"
Saverio CostanzoElena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci and Saverio CostanzoDecember 10, 2018 (2018-12-10) (HBO)
December 18, 2018 (2018-12-18) (RAI)
0.228[19] and 6.620[18]
  1. ^ a b HBO listings translate the titles of episodes 3 and 4 as "The Metamorphoses" and "Dissolving Margins", respectively.


My Brilliant Friend
(TV Series Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedDecember 7, 2018 (2018-12-07)
LabelDeutsche Grammophon
Max Richter chronology
Mary Queen of Scots (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
My Brilliant Friend
(TV Series Soundtrack)

Ad Astra (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Singles from My Brilliant Friend
(TV Series Soundtrack)
  1. "Elena & Lila"
    Released: November 30, 2018

The soundtrack for the series was composed by Max Richter and it was released by Deutsche Grammophon on December 7, 2018 for digital download.[20]

It was preceded by the release of the single "Elena & Lila" on November 30, 2018.

Track listing[edit]

1."Elena & Lila"4:53
3."Your Reflection"3:35
4."The Days Go By"2:43
5."Interior Dialogues"1:37
6."In the Dark"2:30
7."In Spite of All"2:10
8."Brilliant Clouds"1:11
9."In Remembrance of You"4:57
10."Shimmering Clouds"1:15
11."She Was Running"2:08
12."Our Reflection"5:35
Total length:36:15

Additional featured music[edit]

The season features additional material from Richter's discography.

All music is composed by Max Richter.


The series has received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a 93% "certified fresh" rating with an average score of 8.41 out of 10 based on 54 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "My Brilliant Friend is an expansive epic that gleans rapturous beauty from the most desolate of circumstances, but it is the intimacy between the central duo – and the remarkable performances that bring them to life – that audiences will remember most vividly".[21] On Metacritic, it has a score of 87 out of 100 based on 20 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[22]

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett of The Guardian stated "How revolutionary it still feels to see female friendship explored onscreen in this way. It goes without saying that it takes the Bechdel test and turns it into ragù."[23]


  1. ^ Moylan, Brian (February 9, 2016). "Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels set for TV adaptation". The Guardian. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "My Brilliant Friend Debuts Sunday, Nov. 18 on HBO". HBO. September 13, 2018. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  3. ^ Patterson, Troy (November 15, 2018). ""My Brilliant Friend," Reviewed: A Prada Ad for Working-Class Gloom, but with Shades of Humble Tenderness". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Otterson, Joe (December 4, 2018). "'My Brilliant Friend' Renewed for Season 2 at HBO, RAI". Variety. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  5. ^ Berni, Andrea Francesco (December 19, 2019). "L'Amica Geniale: storia del nuovo cognome, i primi due episodi usciranno al cinema, ecco il trailer!". (in Italian). Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  6. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (January 21, 2020). "Second Season of RAI/HBO Elena Ferrante Series 'My Brilliant Friend' Unveiled". Variety. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d Evans, Greg (March 14, 2018). "HBO Unveils First-Look Photos Of 'My Brilliant Friend' Drama". Deadline. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 20, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.18.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Ascolti TV | Martedì 27 novembre 2018. Boom per l'esordio de L'Amica Geniale (29.3%), disastro per Il Ristorante degli Chef (2.8%)". November 27, 2018. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  10. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 20, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.19.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 28, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.25.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Ascolti TV | Martedì 4 dicembre 2018. Ancora boom per L'Amica Geniale (30.1%). La Mummia 9.1%. Male La Vita in Diretta (14%-1,7 mln) che si fa acchiappare da Geo (13.9%-1,8 mln) e surclassare da Pomeriggio Cinque". December 4, 2018. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 28, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.26.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  14. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 4, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.2.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Ascolti TV | Martedì 11 dicembre 2018. L'Amica Geniale 28.7%, Canale 5 al 7%". December 11, 2018. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  16. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 4, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.3.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  17. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 11, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.9.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "'L'amica geniale' chiude in bellezza, straordinario successo con quasi 7 milioni di spettatori". (in Italian). December 19, 2018. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 11, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.10.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  20. ^ "My Brilliant Friend (TV Series Soundtrack)". iTunes. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  21. ^ "My Brilliant Friend: Season 1 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  22. ^ "My Brilliant Friend - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  23. ^ Cosslett, Rhiannon Lucy (November 27, 2018). "The brilliance of My Brilliant Friend: this series gives us female lives in full". The Guardian. Retrieved August 4, 2019.

External links[edit]