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New Netflix series based on tragic true story left astounded viewers in tears

Earlier this week, Netflix viewers were buzzing about a new coming-of-age TV series, defying the usual January lull in film and TV releases. The streaming platform has kicked off 2024 with an impressive lineup, featuring Kevin Hart’s “Lift,” Daniel Levy’s directorial debut “Good Grief,” and the second season of “Break Point.”

For enthusiasts of television and cinema, there’s more to anticipate this month, including Queer Eye season eight, the crime drama “Griselda,” and “The Kitchen.”

Before diving into those, however, another series demands attention – a captivating offering set in 1980s suburban Brisbane. Titled “Boy Swallows Universe,” this seven-part limited series has garnered acclaim on social media, telling the story of protagonist Eli Bell, portrayed by newcomer Felix Cameron.

Adapted from the semi-autobiographical book by Australian author Trent Dalton, the series delves into the challenging upbringing of 13-year-old Eli. Faced with adversity due to his stepfather’s involvement in drug dealing and his mother’s struggles with addiction, Eli attempts to save his mother, Frances (played by Phoebe Tonkin), by navigating the criminal underworld.

According to Netflix, “Boy Swallows Universe” follows the journey of a young boy in the suburbs of 1980s Brisbane as he confronts the harsh realities of life and looming dangers threatening his family.

Released on January 11, the series has received widespread praise on social media. Viewers have expressed admiration for its mature storytelling, with one Twitter user exclaiming, “Just spent the last 7 hours crying on and off, Boy Swallows Universe was fantastic.”

The positive reception extends to critics, with Rotten Tomatoes awarding it an 86 percent Tomatometer score. On IMDb, the suburban-based drama boasts an impressive 8/10 star rating.

For those drawn to true stories, “Boy Swallows Universe” is loosely based on Trent Dalton’s own childhood, as revealed by the author himself. Opening up about his life to the Townsville Bulletin, Dalton shared, “I don’t have enough words in the book to go on about all the things my mum survived, things that other people would have succumbed to.”

If the series intrigues you, all seven episodes are available for streaming on Netflix.