Big Little Lies (2017– )
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Without giving away the plot, the show is part is Desperate Housewives part Knots Landing and part Secrets and Lies in that it's a drama, a soap and a mystery, all rolled into one delicious package.
Beautiful cinematography and an amazing soundtrack add to the enjoyment. I just binge-watched the first three episodes and they left me wanting more. Just watch it - it's the show you've been waiting for...
So far this series is more than about fighting mums and a "who-done-it". What is so prevalent in the first episode is the underlying themes of parenthood, marital relationships and school-mom politics. I'm sure the writers will have more juice to add as the series progresses.
For now, it's the mystery that has got me hooked. And to heighten my viewing pleasure, it is the development of the characters and the conflicts surrounding them, and also within, that makes me want to watch it that little bit longer, hopefully right to the very end of the series that is slowly peeling away the hypocrisy and the nastiness of an affluent suburb/town!
It's not often you read a book and the pictures that you form in your mind suddenly become real through a great translation to the screen. Although the book was originally set on the Northern beaches of Sydney the translation to Monterey California is perfect. David E Kelly has written the screenplay and has done an excellent job and dare I say taken a great story and enhanced it beautifully.
The casting is absolutely perfect with Reese as Maddy, Nicole Kidman as Celeste, Laura Dern as Renata and Shailene as Jane. Great choice with Zoe Kravitz as well.
Any parent and especially any mother will really relate to the story which keeps you guessing until the very end. AAA+++
To put in perspective, I usually work when I watch TV, don't really even 'watch' it, just background noise. Not only did I stop working to watch this, I ran the last few minutes in slow motion to fully absorb what happened. I can't give a show much more praise than that! You'll understand the scene I'm talking about when you see it.
The three women at the centre of the story are Madeleine Mackenzie an A-type mostly stay at home mom on her second husband (Reese Witherspoon), her beautiful best friend Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and the town newcomer that Mackenzie adopts into their life, Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley), a 20-something young mom who moved to the town for the schools and doesn't really fit in. Each woman is hiding a huge secret, but eventually the secrets come out and the women find solace and comfort leaning on each other for support.
There is a lot more than that (the show opens with the bold claim that there was a murder, and most of the show is a flash backward showing how that murder came to be), but a lot of the central mysteries aren't mysteries at all. The editing, costuming and acting choices deeply hint at the answers to every mystery, so by the time the finale rolls around and everything is revealed it's not so much an "Ah ha!" moment as an "Ahhhhh" moment as you realize with satisfaction that the build up was good and everything makes sense.
The best part of this is seeing all the actors doing amazing work. Nicole Kidman walks away with the show giving a devastating performance. Laura Dern provides levity and Robin Weigert, as Celeste's therapist, may not be a "name" actress, but she brings so much to her scenes.
A wonderful show.
Interesting enough IMDb user-rating system rates this their 129th top rated TV show - which compelled me incredulously to see exactly which dramas fell above it. Let's just say that I couldn't agree with at least 99% of them. For me this is easily be in the top ten and certainly the top twenty TV shows/dramas ever made.
The series is full of memorable lines, and I think my favorite is Laura Dern's "Don't F*** with my daughter's birthday party". Reese Witherspoon is unforgettable as the perfectionist Mom who turns out to be all too human, Nicole Kidman takes us on a roller coaster ride of emotion as we discover her secrets and the truth she refuses to confront. Shailene Woodley is a natural for her role as a young single Mother trying to survive in a new community and fighting for her young son. Zoe Kravitz is equally well cast as the bohemian peace-loving Bonnie. The children in BLL are so believable in their roles, we're rooting for them from the start as the series unfolds. The men in these women's lives have issues - some issues very serious indeed - and all of these character stories are woven into the flow of each scene in an effortless way that keeps us hooked and counting the days for the next episode. Bring on Season 2!
It's not a pure comedy but there's plenty of hilarious dialog and situations. Some may feel women are being ridiculed and parodied too much, not portrayed realistically and yes the show exaggerates, but it wouldn't be so painfully funny if there wasn't at least some truth to the daily war zone these mothers create for each other (and then there's of course the marital problems as well).
The show is not too predictable and keeps you guessing who got killed in the end. It features accomplished Hollywood actresses that have all earned their stripes: Witherspoon, Kidman, Woodley. They don't let down here. The male actors are less known but equally excellent.
The way of filming and structuring is also fresh. HBO drama at it's finest.
I'm almost sad there is going to be another season because I am satisfied with how the first season ended, but I'm curious to see where it goes. That said, the first season is filled with the right mixture of drama, suspense, and dark humor, and is worth the watch in my opinion.
But then - although these women keep being annoyingly redundant (except for Woodley's character, though) - the show became incredibly insightful and sensitive and I have never seen a show that painted such a precise picture about abusive relationships - they did it brilliantly and partly even in an eye-opening way.
And all three main actresses do an amazing job. I was never that fond of either Witherspoon or Kidman - but in this show I like watching them. They have so much respect for their characters. And they even manage to make these unnerving people somehow likable. Particularly Witherspoon. But that is just because it's painful to watch how Kidman ruined her face surgically. As an actress, Kidman does an amazing job too. And respect to both for producing the show. Also, Woodley is such a natural and perfectly cast.
And yes - I'm not even sure why - the show captured me each episode more - and I could absolutely watch way more of it than just 7 episodes.
So - well done, guys & thank you****