Big Little Lies (HBO) starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, & Shailene Woodley

NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review. 

[1] I don’t know why, but I found this show completely and utterly mesmerizing, all the way down to the music and cinematography. Everyone involved in this from top to bottom hit it out of the park.

[2] Give it a chance, as I haven’t been a fan of Nicole Kidman until now; she is amazing and such a talented actress in this series. 

[3] Extremely intelligently written, superb acting, great dialogues, characters on point, great music…

[4] I recommend everyone to go see it. It was an OUTSTANDING commentary touching on feminism, sisterhood, parenthood, love and compassion. 

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

I was surprised by HOW much I liked this (limited) series. There MAY be a Season 2, BUT (from few things I’ve heard/read) don’t get your hopes up. This show is based on a book of the same title by an Australian novelist Liane Moriarty; however, the setting here is gorgeous, suburban, and liberal-minded town (Monterey, CA). The show focuses on the lives of several women (incl. homemakers, career women, single moms) whose children are attending 1st grade together at a public high school. Their husbands and (potential) partners are present, BUT secondary characters; the ladies (rare for TV) take the lead!  

The creator of HBO’s Big Little Lies is lawyer-turned-screenwriter David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal; Boston Legal; Chicago Hope, etc.)  Some of you know him as the long-time husband of actress Michelle Pfeiffer; they have two kids together. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon BOTH act and serve as producers of the show, as does Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club; Wild; The Young Victoria). I think Vallee has an eye for beauty, BUT is also NOT afraid to shy away from reality (incl. portraying dark/troubling moments in a natural fashion).

Madeline Mackenzie (Witherspoon) is an energetic, chatty, and VERY proud homemaker w/ two daughters- a 15 y.o. (recently growing distant) w/ her first husband and a 6 y.o. (who loves music) w/ her second husband, Ed (Adam Scott). They have a lovely beachfront home and are solidly upper middle-class, thanks to Ed’s successful IT business. Madeline works P/T at the local community theater. Her best friend is even wealthier; Celeste Wright (Kidman) is NOT only classically beautiful and elegant, she was a VERY successful lawyer who became a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) to twin 6 y.o. boys. She is married to a somewhat younger business executive, Perry (Alexander Skarsgard), who travels often and likes to get his way. There is a new mom in town- Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley); she is nice yet also reserved, still in her 20s, and has a sweet 6 y.o. son. Jane moved from a nearby town and is NOT from an affluent background; she is looking for a job in the accounting field.

Madeline takes an instant liking to Jane and introduces her to the town, their children’s school, and everyday dramas that result from interactions w/ fellow moms in the community. Career woman Renata Klein (Laura Dern) and Madeline are NOT afraid to let people know that they are frenemies (or nemesis?)- they lock horns often and BOTH have stubborn personalities. Renata knows that the SAHMs look at her differently; she serves on several company boards, yet also seeks to control things at her daughter’s school. One of the ONLY women who seems to be low-drama is Bonnie Carlson (Zoe Kravitz- daughter of singer Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet). She is a free-spirited black woman (in her late 20s) who works as a yoga teacher; she is married to Madeline’s ex-husband, Nathan, w/ whom she has a 6 y.o. daughter.  

 

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