WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers of Big Little Lies
“A perfect life is a perfect lie”. That’s the tagline of the HBO’s limited series Big Little Lies, based on the book by Liane Moriarty, which is quite appealing in and of itself. In addition, the cast is filled with Hollywood’s A-listers, such as Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley. But would it be good? The short answer is: yes, it would be great!
Set in Monterrey, California, the 7-episode show starts with a mystery: someone has been murdered. The audience, however, knows neither the victim nor the murderer. Instead, many different witnesses are being interrogated by the police and start to tell the stories of 4 women whose children are in the same classroom in school.
Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) is the full time mom who is very much involved in the school’s activities and also is producing Avenue Q in the local theater. Celeste (Nicole Kidman) quit her career as a lawyer to devote time to her twin boys. She seems to have a perfect relationship with her husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgård). Renata (Laura Dern) is also leaving a wealthy live with her husband and their daughter. So Jane (Shailene Woodley) is the outsider – the only one from the group who isn’t married and who isn’t rich. In fact, she moved to that town to start over.
As we learn more about each of them, we can clearly see that there’s a lot of rivalry and jealousy. Also, we see that their lives are far from being perfect, especially Celeste’s. She and her husband have an abusive relationship, where he exercises control over her in many ways and beats her frequently. They even start couple’s therapy, but he quickly gives up and she ends up going alone. That’s when she realizes that her living situation is not normal.
Credit is due to Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård, who are both extremely convincing in their roles. The scenes with violence are very graphic and disturbing, but that’s how domestic violence should be portrait.
Shailene’s character is also very interesting. She is a single mom, struggling to get over a past trauma and she clearly has post-traumatic disorder and anxiety. Her friendship with Madeline becomes extremely important to help her cope with everything.
Every character in the show is complex, thanks to a great script and to excellent acting from all in the cast. Not to mention the beautiful locations and the soundtrack, with well-chosen songs to give the right beat to live in Monterrey.
Without going into many more plot details, it is safe to say that the biggest takeaway of this mini-series is that friendship and communication should always prevail among women. Very often do we see women turning against each other for many different reasons. But if Big Little Lies has taught something, it is that women together are a force to be reckoned with.
There have been rumors of a second season and it is understandable: life in Monterey is far from being boring. Or perfect.