‘Big Little Lies’ has for its opening scene, five of its leading ladies taking their children to school, while the shots are interwoven with dazzling ocean shots, sex imagery, as a soothing track ‘Cold Little Heart’ by Michael Kiwanuka plays in the background. The surrealism of the opening scene has you hooked, and so does the entire series.
Moms with their first graders, dropping them off to school. How can this become a series which has already swooped away 8 Primetime Emmys, taking in award in every major category it was nominated! ‘Big Little Lies’ might seem like an another of those clichéd dramas involving parents but this is a masterpiece that proves you wrong shooting you right in the heart in the pilot itself. There have been pleasing shows exploring the concept of secrets and bitching like ‘Desperate Housewives’, teen-favourite ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and the recent ‘Devious Maids‘- but ‘Big Little Lies’ has its own ways of exploring the themes, it knows where to be soft and where to be brutal. By brutal, I am talking really brutal!
We have Madeline, Celeste, Jan, Renate and Bonnie- all mothers of first graders who are there to drop their children for the orientation. Madeline is the quirky, outspoken one BFF with Celeste who has two lovely boys and a lovely husband, Renate is the grossly rich CEO working mom, Jane is the newbie in town fighting her troubled past while Bonnie is married to Madeline’s ex Nathan. After an incident of bullying on the orientation day of the school, Madeline becomes friends with Jane whose son has been accused. As the situation gets worse, dirty secrets are exposed, love is hindered and a deadly past crawls out from the grave, ultimately leading to a final-showdown at a fund-raising event.
To say that one factor upheavals the show would be untrue cause this is a show that is made phenomenal by its entire crew- be it the vivid approach of direction that is both mainstream and David Lynch like, or the haunting cinematography, the masterful screenplay and obviously the talented cast. Kidman and Witherspoon rule this series, while the former plays a wife who has a seemingly perfect life- the other is dealing with the consequences of her own actions. These two actresses know how to literally switch personalities with their characters and its hard to talk about their unnerving talent without spoiling the entire show- just know that Witherspoon plays the most lovingly bitchiest character you’ll see while Kidman brings forward the plight of women stereotyped as ‘housewives’. Woodley is never given enough character development due to the slow build up- but when she really comes to the picture, she displays why she has developed such a massive appeal in her short acting span. Skarsgård comes out as a riveting surprise of the entire series- you’ll know it when you have seen it. Dern also doesn’t lets her supporting character be thrown into the background- playing a rich and overprotective mother, and that too with a charm. Other cast members like Kravitz, Scott, Tupper and Nordling to give the best in their relevant roles. No doubt the show was nominated for the best casting choice and won too!
The gossip talks are beautifully explored with dexterity that is so close to brilliance- you have town folks being questioned one by one in random sequences that pop midway – that contributes largely to know more about the characters. However the best part about the series is that it’s just not limited to its gossip material- it explores so much about female psychology coming out as very sensitive drama discussing issues like marriage, sex, extra-martial affairs, violence, rape and bullying, parenting, hope and love. Violence is graphic at times but never over the top- it’s up to a level that is just necessary to showcase the heinous evils of the society. It also cleverly debunks the theory of perfection in today’s world and is stated amazingly by one character’s lines,
“Beautiful, rich, and madly in love…something’s got to be wrong..”
The series does kinda goes downhill after the third episode- the fourth and fifth episode could have been joined in one. The final twist is predictable, but satisfies largely.
‘Big Little Lies’ is kind of Desperate Housewives meets Gone Girl vibes, but has an undeniable identity of its own. Watch it !