Girl encounters boy on train. Sparks fly. They talk, and time passes without them even noticing. The way they gaze at each other reveals the connection they feel. It could be the start of a sweet love story, if it weren’t for the fact she later discovers the perfect boy she has just met is … a neo-Nazi. Is it even possible to create a poignant romance with a focus on the extreme right? The series Everything You Love not only proves that it is, it also suggests it might be the most effective way to explore why young Europeans are joining far right groups.

That is the premise behind this Norwegian series, recently released on Filmin, which examines the horror and bewilderment left in the wake of the two attacks on July 22, 2011, that took the lives of 77 people. The perpetrator was a young neo-Nazi by the name of Anders Behring Breivik. These details have already been addressed in other films and series. A prime example is last year’s excellent miniseries July 22, also on Filmin, which took the pulse of the Norwegian people and their belief that they live in the best country in the world. In other words, a nation where such a horrific attack could never take place.

In Everything You Love, this Norway is represented by Jonas, the boy with whom the female lead falls in love. He is also perfect. Polite, intelligent, generous. The kind of guy that no one would ever think hides far-right beliefs. In fact, his political views, revealed in the first episodes of the series, revolve around criticism of the government and concerns about social injustice, things that the girl he is getting to know, Sara, and viewers, can relate to. Only later does it become clear they are only the tip of a deeper, darker ideology long fed by an online extremist forum. The neo-Nazi has been radicalized while in the privacy of his bedroom, breathing in the hatred and shared consensus of like-minded youths, while on the outside, the rest of the world sees him as a likeable, trustworthy type, never suspecting he would be otherwise.

‘Everything You Love’. Filmin.

Part of the series examines the process by which it dawns on Sara that she has fallen in love with a neo-Nazi, and another in explaining how Jonas came to let his political convictions lead to the adoption of a hate-based ideology. In both cases, Everything You Love takes a risk in trying to get the audience to empathize with characters who could easily provoke rejection or misunderstanding. Of the two, the series puts more effort into understanding Jonas, giving viewers insight into the factors that led him down this path. Although the analysis doesn’t go that deep – instead tending to highlight symptoms – it’s enough to spark the kind of reflection that is particularly intended for young people. That’s why this portrait of the problem of Europe’s extreme right comes in the unlikely guise of a romance, because it makes it much more likely that this thought-provoking series reaches the eyes of those who should watch it – namely young people who are much like its leading male.

Toni de la Torre
Toni de la Torre. TV series critic. Toni works in ‘El Matí de Catalunya Ràdio’, El Temps, Què fem, Ara Criatures, Sàpiens and he also collaborates in TV3 magazine show ‘Tot es mou’. Author of several books on television series and a lecturer at the Barcelona Screenwriters and Showrunners school and in his free time, he likes to give conference on series. Highlights include Premi Bloc de Catalunya 2014.