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Is Can You Hear Me a True Story?

June 4, 2020
3 min read

Netflix’s ‘Can You Hear Me’ tells the story of Ada, Caro, and Fabiola. They live in a low-income neighbourhood, hoping to get out of there someday. But before that, they have to brave a lot of problems that infest their lives. While one needs to cool down her temper, the other needs to develop some. While one speaks too much for her own good, the other needs to learn to speak up for herself. In this manner, they compliment each other and act as the support that they need to keep themselves going.

The show sets itself apart from other female-centric dramas by staying close to reality. Along the way, it touches upon some sensitive but relevant issues, making it possible for the audience to relate to the trio in one way or another. Where does it get this authenticity from? Is it based on real people? Here’s the answer.

Is Can You Hear Me Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Can You Hear Me’ is not based on a true story. It is a comedy-drama created by Florence Longpré, who plays the role of Ada, in the show. The idea of writing this story came to her while working as a beneficiary attendant. She met with people who had their luggage in garbage bags and living hand to mouth with barely anything to sustain themselves. It was something that she hadn’t seen on TV, which seemed too engrossed in telling the stories of beautiful people living in modern societies. She took bits from the story of every person she met with during this time, and coalesced their experiences into the stories that turned into ‘Can You Hear Me’.

Longpré wanted to create something that was not only believable but also showed something of worth that would ring true for the audience. She wished she had seen such stories while growing up, and through her show wanted to focus on the diverse ways in which people live, love and survive. She wanted to keep things as ugly and raw as they would be in real life and gave each protagonist a distinct voice and manner of speech. She also refrained from needlessly adding drama in the lives of Ada, Caro, and Fabio, and presented things as is, because that’s how they are in real life.

This diversity also shows up in the series where we find sexual and cultural plurality in the characters. And the show normalises it by never quite explaining why a certain character had to be this way or that way. Race and sexuality take the backseat and the show remains focused on the individuality of the people who are at its focus.

While casting for the series, the showmakers didn’t pay heed to the color of the skin of the actors that they were hiring to play different parts. They further attested to the legitimacy of their casting process by stating that the issues that the show focuses on don’t segregate people. Poverty and mental health issues, among other things, are not racist in their selection.

As for the title of the series, Longpré explained that while writing it, she was obsessed with Justin Timberlake’s ‘Losing My Way’. One of its lines led her to “can you hear me”, which she found to be the most fitting title for her story.

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