‘Sex Education’ Review – The Hollywood Reporter
Netflix’s latest portrait of teen life blends raucous sex farce with empathy for the young adult experience and is anchored by fine performances from Asa Butterfield and Gillian Anderson.As elusive demographics go, you can’t go wrong programming to “former teens.” No matter their buying power or brand loyalty, all viewers aged 20-to-??? have experienced, and presumably survived to laugh about, the zitty onset of puberty, the fumbling awkwardness of first love, the sweaty anxiety of essays and exams.
With shows like On My Block, the late-and-lamented Everything Sucks! and the first season of 13 Reasons Why, Netflix has excelled at targeting “former teens” in recent years and has another hilarious and cringe-worthy winner on its hands with the new dramedy Sex Education. A blend of Netflix genre peaks Big Mouth and The End of the F***ing World, Sex Education may also play to viewers actually in the midst of the nightmares of adolescence, but the show is aggressively gross and graphic in a way that will probably mortify teens and grownups alike — making it the perfect candidate to be watched in amused solitude and then, hopefully, discussed in candor.
Set in the photogenic and fictional British town of Moordale — played with lush, green majesty by locations in Wales — Sex Education is the story of Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), son of renowned sex and relationship therapist Jean (Gillian Anderson). Otis and longtime best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) aren’t unpopular at Moordale Secondary; they’re basically invisible, even though Eric is one of the school’s only two gay students and thinks nothing of making a scene.