It’s impossible to avoid the posters plastered on buses, subway walls, and billboards for HBO’s “Big Little Lies”. After a couple weeks of advertising campaign bombardment, I borrowed a friend’s HBO account and started watching. I ended up finishing the 7-episode series in just one weekend–I was hooked.
A short description of “Big Little Lies” would be “The Real Housewives meets Gone Girl”, at least in my opinion. Visually, the show’s gorgeous shots seem to allude to something dark hiding below the surface, which reminded me a lot of David Fincher’s Gone Girl. The mom-gossip and pettiness kept me hooked, though it went from superficial to murderous real quick.
The show features Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Alexander Skarsgard, Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley, so it’s not a surprise that the acting is absolutely phenomenal. I especially enjoyed Laura Dern’s performance as the over the top overprotective career mom, whom I loved to hate.
Reese Witherspoon plays Madeline, the bubbly socialite whose hyper exterior hides inner confusion. Her character can’t seem to let her ex-husband go, and struggles to raise her teenage daughter and first grader. Madeline’s attitude can be found in plenty of upper class suburban moms, and this show reveals the desperation that lurks behind faux happiness.
Madeline is not the only mother with secrets, as each of them hide information that ranges from minor imperfections, to the pain of abuse, to murder.
Shailene Woodley’s character, Jane’s calm nature and innocent curiosity clash with the personalities of the other moms in Monterrey. She and her son, Ziggy appear to be on the run from their past. Ziggy’s father is “out of the picture”, and Jane refuses to reveal any information about him until midway through the series.
Immediately in the beginning of the first episode, it is revealed that at a school fundraiser, someone is murdered. We don’t know who murdered who until the finale, and that, along with the other secrets that are slowly revealed, is what keeps you watching. Though I don’t want to spoil anything, this climatic finale was quite satisfying.
I loved the show for its mystery, and for its message that nothing is as it seems, even in areas of great wealth and perfection. I also really loved how the children in the show played just as big a role as their parents, and had complex and interesting personalities. Lastly, the show (and the people in it!) are visually gorgeous to look at. Music also plays a big role and is perfectly placed and chosen.
Though I loved the finale, I still thought some story-lines were lacking in closure, and wished that the show was longer. At times, I wished that the episodes were more detailed and in depth. Lastly, the scenes of relationship abuse were painful to watch and at times appeared gratuitous. I usual hate watching scenes that include domestic abuse, so that’s more my personal opinion.
Overall, the positives in “Big Little Lies” definitely outshine the negatives. Not only was the show entertaining and intense, but its strong performances created great depth.
My Rating: 4/5 stars