Boy Swallows Universe 2024 / A nostalgic depiction of the Brisbane suburban coming-of-age saga


Coming-of-age shows are practically Netflix’s bread-and-butter, but the working class side of Brisbane in the 80’s is a suburb we didn’t expect the international streamer to visit. Based on the semi-autobiographical novel with the same name, Boy Swallows Universe is centered on the precocious Eli Bell, whose age and curiosity naturally pushes him to try and figure out how he fits in the world. There are some magic realist elements, and the crimes escalate as we go further and further into the miniseries, but the show shines best when depicting the slow, day-to-day moments in Bell’s family. The show never judges them, nor does it totally excuse their actions. Instead, Boy Swallows Universe depicts a certain nostalgic compassion one could only have for their hometown, regardless of how downtrodden it is.

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