Big Little Lies follows the drama and politics of three mothers with children in the 1st grade at an elite elementary school in Monterey, California. A murder takes place at the school’s fundraiser, and the events leading to the murder are uncovered.
From the director of movies like Wild and Dallas Buyers Club and based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies showcases a star-studded cast including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, and Zoë Kravitz.
The mini-series is shot very well. Monterey’s gorgeous seaside coast provides a number of aesthetically pleasing scenes within this first episode, and the music chosen sets the mood of something bound to go wrong.
The show creates a believable story. I remember the stories of my mother participating in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association), and this does not seem to be too much of a stretch from that. It is an interesting spin on the classic “Who Done It?” mystery.
While the central plot revolves around a murder, the dialogue is actually quite witty and funny (a surprise considering the topic of the drama), but it works well in a dark sense. Actresses like Reese Witherspoon have proven time and time again that they can fill the leading role in a drama (like Walk the Line, for which she won an Oscar) or comedy (a personal favorite of mine – Legally Blonde), and this mini-series is no different.
Reese Witherspoon (Madeline Mackenzie, the queen bee), Nicole Kidman (Celeste Wright, Madeline’s best friend), and Shailene Woodley (Jane Chapman, the new mom who just moved into town) flow so seamlessly into their roles it’s as if they were created specifically for them. They all seem to live perfectly normal (albeit rich) lives, but we can tell they have skeletons in their closets.
I am interested in seeing where the dynamic between all of the characters shifts to the point of murder, and of course, who is actually dead.
While I cannot speak on if this is a good adaptation of the novel, the show itself is promising and enjoyable. Definitely tune in to watch the next episode (or use DVR to catch up; I promise you have time, there has only been one episode).
Big Little Lies airs Sundays on HBO at 9PM EST.