To broach a topic as sensitive as abuse, is not an easy task. How to explain the motive of the abuse, its repercussions, its trauma and most importantly its form. Big Little Lies manages to create a web of lives that are connected by the very fine threads of conversations and lies. The story is simple, a group of women managing their kids, husbands, homes, offices, extra marital affairs, deep rooted hatred for each other, and in the midst of all this, their own little secrets.
Based in the picturesque town of Monterey in California, the show has an aesthetically pleasing setting. Everything is fascinating, from the waves, to the beaches, the extravagant houses, the designer clothes & jewellery, even the simple Jane Chapman played by Shailene Woodley who has just moved to town with her oh-so cute son Ziggy. When she befriends bigmouth of the town, the ferocious stay at home mom Madeline (played splendidly by Reese Witherspoon), the story sets in motion. The problems and friendships of their kids drives the mothers to pit against each other and politicize something which could be handled smoothly. Renata Klein is the all-rounder of the group and is proud to show off her professional achievements with her motherly instincts. We also have the cool, young, tattooed mom Bonnie Carlson who prefers being a friend to her kids than a commanding mother. And the most surprising star is Celeste Wright (the gorgeous Nicole Kidman), the wife and mother who quits her job to please and look after her family. Why surprising, you ask, because the role has multiple emotional layers which Celeste gradually unfolds through the season.
There are so many more characters, the children are all very polished in their reflexes and the emotional quotient they project on screen. The husbands are trying to calm their wives while fighting their own demons. But what is the crux of this show? The pretence. How we may be rich and beautiful and successful and powerful in front of the world, but what happens inside our house may be a whole other story. To not lose face in front of society we pretend to be happy. Why do educated women continue to suffer at the hands of men and not speak up. Speak up is the lesson from this show.
Watch Big Little Lies for a conversation filled, murder suspense drama which has a very common yet unapproached topic at its centre. A hugely talented cast and very fine direction by Jean-Marc Vallée (director of Dallas Buyer’s Club).
Do not watch Big Little Lies if you are not a fan of too much chatting in your choice of shows. And absolutely do not watch it if you are looking for a murder thriller. Because yes, it is centred around a murder, but that is not what the show is about.