There I sat on a weekend, after having spent the entire week getting through a book about a famous don, nothing I hadn’t read before, when I realised I had 7 episodes of a thriller-drama waiting for me in my inbox. One of the perks of working in the entertainment sector, I guess. What drew me to watch this show is that it is a mini-series. Perfect for those with short-attention spans. Right, on with the review.
There is something ominous about a calm sea; you never know when a ferocious and brutal storm will hit it. Just like the picturesque town of Otter Bay is rocked by a maniacal murder that may be linked to mothers and children in the 1st grade. Welcome to the intriguing world of Big Little Lies.
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley in the lead, the show will draw you in from the first episode itself. Based on the novel, of the same name by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies delves into the seemingly happy lives of three mothers.
Madeline’s (Reese Witherspoon) perfect life revolves around her two daughters, husband, and ex-husband. Celeste (Nicole Kidman) too lives an ideal life, with her gorgeous husband and twin boys. The only out-of-place element in this scene is Jane played by Shailene Woodley. Jane is a not-so-affluent single mother. These women have their own set of issues that is well hidden from the worldly portrayal of their picture perfect lives.
The events of HBO’s limited series are set into motion when Madeline and Celeste befriend Jane. Jane seems to be running away from a troubled past. It seems everyone is running away from something in this town even though all they can manage is a run on the beach. Things start to breakdown as we see that not all is hunky dory. We see the ideal marriages break down, spouses being abusive towards each other, extra-marital affairs, jealousy and resentment about the past. Meanwhile, the children are being bullied at school, and Ziggy (Jane’s son) gets accused for it. This childish crime is juxtaposed with a much sinister crime - that of murder.
What keeps this show going is that, firstly, it’s very different from the likes of the run-of-the-mill dramas and thrillers. It is not even revealed who is killed till the last episode of the show, so if you think you’ll figure out who the killer is along with the show - you’d be wrong. And let’s not forget the less sinister, yet equally cunning school bully that is hurting the children. The first 6 episodes build up to the crux that the last episode is. The build up is near perfect, the characters are well-defined and their backstories are intriguing. Another great thing about Big Little Lies - the background score. The music is perfectly chosen for the theme or mood of the scene(s).
Big Little Lies focuses on the lives of women, and we view the men from their point of view. The show is also being touted as a feminist one since it scrutinises the powerful dynamics of female friendships. In the progression of the show, the lives of the mothers get intertwined within each other’s in a dark and seemingly twisted sort of manner. As the wicked past collides with the sunny present, abominable secrets are revealed as the mothers try to protect their children and each other.
Don’t forget to catch Big Little Lies on Star World Premiere HD, every Tuesday at 10 PM. Alternately, you can also watch it on Hotstar.