Critical acclaim for The Last of Us and star Bella Ramsey
Bella Ramsey has received rave reviews following the debut episode of her new drama The Last of Us. The Leicestershire actor, already known for her role of Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones, has been widely praised for her part in the new “landmark” show.
Bella, who studied acting in Loughborough as part of its Stagecoach Theatre, stars in the drama as Ellie, a 14-year-old girl at the end of the world who journeys alongside Pedro Pascal’s Joel as they try to escape zombies in the US. The much-anticipated drama is adapted from the video game of the same name and has been widely acclaimed by critics.
Particular praise was heaped on Bella. The Washington Post's Gene Park found the 19-year-old’s Game of Thrones experience had given her “great practice” for the role of Ellie, who he said was a “young girl born into a world that doesn’t nurture innocence”.
READ MORE: Bella Ramsey almost lost out on Last of Us role to Game of Thrones co-star
He also praised her co-star Pascal, saying: “Pascal and Ramsey have a chemistry that just works. When the show lurches toward its most pivotal scenes, Pascal and Ramsey are at their best.”
The Guardian’s Joel Golby was similarly in awe of The Last of Us’ main cast. Calling the drama the “perfect video game adaptation”, he said: “Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey play Joel and Ellie with perfect lightness of touch. Both actors here are excellent.”
He also found that Ramsey plays peskily unflappable characters “better than anyone else alive”, calling her performance the “levity and the hope” of the show. That balance was also praised by Empire Magazine’s John Nugent.
In his five-star review of the show, he said Bella “convincingly balances wide-eyed innocence with intense grit”. He believes her gifted acting adds some lightness to what could easily have been “quite a bleak watch”.
There had been fears from Last of Us fans that the drama could fall flat in the wake of other video game adaptations, but critics believed this was a new “landmark” in adaptations. The Independent's Nick Hilton, who gave it four stars, was also full of praise for both Ramsey and Pascal.
He said: “The Last of Us is undoubtedly a new landmark in the seemingly impossible task of adapting video games. [Pascal] has a reliable magnetism as grizzled men who’d rather punch than talk. Ramsey, meanwhile, does an excellent line in precocious but endearing teenagers.”
USA Today’s Kelly Lawler was just as impressed by the drama. She said: “As a general rule, video games don't usually make for good TV, but [The Last of Us] brings the visceral, intimate quality of a video game without feeling like you're stuck in an uncanny valley playing one.”
She hailed Ramsey and Pascal as both “fantastic” and “well-suited to their roles”. She even gave particular praise to the Leicestershire star, saying she is “silly and playful” and a “magnet for your eyes amid the chaos”.
The Last of Us airs tonight (Monday, January 16) at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.
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