Netflix’s A Nearly Normal Family, directed by Per Hanefjord, shows us how our society needs to be better equipped to deal with the victims of sexual abuse. It shows the importance of therapy and how crucial the role of the parents also becomes in such scenarios. In this article, we will try to decipher how the perpetrator, Chris, had his ways and means to win the trust of the several women he had victimized and why, in the end, the protagonist, Stella, decided to kill him when she could have just escaped from there and saved herself from the legal consequences of her actions.
How did Christopher win Stella’s trust?
Life had been hard for Stella, and now she didn’t even find solace with her best friend, Amina. It was not Amina’s fault that she had a life, a hectic academic schedule, and few other friends to hang out with. Stella knew that, no matter how outcasted she felt, she didn’t have the right to blame Amina for her misery. Stella had been in that scattered state of mind after the entire incident with Robin. Years had passed, but the wounds hadn’t healed. She still got scared thinking about that day, and she was never herself after that. Stella had decided not to go to college, and she had started feeling the burden of the expectations of her parents and especially her mother. She was in a very chaotic state of mind when she saw Christopher Olsen for the very first time. She was in a bar with Amina, and she felt out of place when the latter’s friends showed up and gave her a judgmental glance.
Stella, over a period of time, had learned to escape from the scene whenever things got tough because she was not in a state to confront her own feelings and confidently face the people. But here was this dreamy guy, whom she saw sitting at the bar and she felt attracted to him. Christopher could have asked her out for a drink, but instead, he took her to an art gallery and then safely dropped her home. They didn’t get physically intimate during that first encounter, and it was a pre-planned move on Christopher’s part. He knew how to win the trust of a girl. He knew that he couldn’t show that he was desperate if he wanted to do what he had planned. Christopher had already created a narrative in his mind, which he probably must have used with many girls in the past. He said that he was burned in his last relationship, and he wanted to take things slow. Things like these made Stella believe that he was not like other guys. His intention was not to pounce on the bed with her at the first opportunity, but he was looking for something more substantial. Christopher was the biggest red flag that could ever have been, and his self-awareness led him to fake his actions so that the girls perceived him to be the opposite of what he actually was. Christopher knew that if he wanted to play the sinister game, he had to be patient. He told Stella that he wanted to take things forward at a slow pace, and she was brainwashed into believing his narrative. If anybody at that moment had told Stella what kind of man he was, obviously, she would have disagreed since she was shown a completely different side that was miles away from the real picture.
When did Stella realize that her life was in danger?
Linda Levander was Christopher’s ex-partner, and she had filed a complaint against him for abuse, but the police hadn’t done anything. Linda came in contact with Stella, and she tried to warn her about Christopher, but obviously, Stella, at that point in time in A Nearly Normal Family, took it in the wrong manner. Stella thought that Linda was just jealous, and she couldn’t see Chris with any other girl. Linda knew that Chris had that kind of influence over girls, and she had been a victim of it. She knew that she would have to stay persistent, as slowly Stella would see Chris’s real face. And that day came when the seed of doubt was planted in Stella’s head. One day, she reached Christopher’s home unannounced, and he felt that his privacy was violated and, moreover, that he had been caught red-handed. He lashed out at her and asked her to go back.
Later that day, he came over to her house to apologize, but that did not dissipate the feelings that Stella had. Stella’s parents were not in town, and Chris came to her house to meet her. That entire encounter was very weird, and that day, Stella got to know that Linda Levander was right. Chris showed signs of being a control freak. He almost crossed the boundary and forced Stella to get intimate with him. Stella was his girlfriend, but she had the same harrowing feeling that she had when she was molested back in the day. Before this encounter, Stella had already found a stash of drugs in Christopher’s house. Linda once again met Stella, and she revealed to her that Chris used it to hurt other women and take advantage of them. Something inside Stella told her that Linda was not lying, as she herself had seen that evil flare in Chris’s eyes.
Why Did Stella Kill Christopher?
Stella’s intuition led her to Christopher’s house, where she found out what he was up to. He drugged Amina and took her to his home. Stella knew that he would do something like that because of the kind of aggression he showed when she stopped acting according to his will made her realize that was another side to him which she had no clue about. There was restlessness and impatience, and Chris seemed like a very different man whenever he felt that he had no control over the person. Stella saw the demon inside Chris completely take over. He was forcing himself upon Amina when Stella used her pepper spray to throw him off balance. Chris couldn’t take no for an answer, and the subsequent events where Stella ignored his calls and Amina rejected his offer made him lose his mind. Chris chased the girls with a knife in his hand, and up until then, Stella had not planned to kill him.
At the end of A Nearly Normal Family, the knife fell from his hand, and Stella turned back, and all she could see was an opportunity. An opportunity to get rid of her fears and trauma, a chance to save the many girls whom Chris was undoubtedly going to abuse in the future, and most importantly, a chance to get back that lost confidence and faith she used to have in herself. She stabbed Chris multiple times and decided that her life wouldn’t be controlled by the ghost of her past. We hope that from hereon things get better for Stella and she is able to deal with own feelings in a better manner and more importantly find happiness in life.