HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies’ Series Review by Dark Princess
As Ituana’s smooth and somber rendition of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ begins to play, I am near tears. Not because of what has just unfolded before my eyes, but because the song is absolute perfection to wrap up the seires. To say I have become attached to Monterey Bay and its inhabitants would be the largest understatement all year. I can safely say that HBO’s Big Little Lies has grabbed me in a way that very few shows ever have.
Am I the only one that marks periods of my life by video game, television, book, or movie obsessions? I can safely say that 2017 will be the year of Big Little Lies and getting lost in every episode numerous times. Every single week I have not only caught each new episode, but I have gone back and watched all of the previous ones again, too. Then, much to my pride, my husband finally agreed to watch it with me, and I started all over again. I cannot get enough, even after the finale’s credits rolled to that beautiful cover. To quote Madeline and Celeste: “I want more!”
There are countless recaps on the internet, so I don’t want to run down everything that happened. What I really wanted to write about was how touching this series was for me. Not because of anything personal or specific, but because of the way the writing, cast, and story wove a story in a universe that feels so authentic. Some compare it to Pretty Little Liars. Not just because of the similarity in name, but also due to a grisly death and the mystery surrounding who did it and why. To me, this series blows PLL away in every way, so ignore those comparisons.
From the very first episode we know that someone is murdered at a school fundraiser. What we don’t know is who, why, or who did it. The rest of the series is the week or so leading up to this Elvis & Audrey themed party. As the episodes steamroll towards this fateful night, you’ll realize more and more than anyone could be dead, and for so many different reasons. The lives of these parents are so intertwined and complicated that it is a soap opera in a more serious HBO fashion.
Yes, it focuses heavily on mothers, but by no means is this some “chick show” that men can’t get into. This series is about domestic abuse, bullying, rape, infidelity, raising your children, friendship, love, the struggles of marriage, and inevitably, murder. These stories come together and draw these amazingly flawed women together.
So who died? And why?
I don’t want to spoil any of the fun! I will say that many people online had predicted at least some of the ending’s surprises, but this is based on a bestselling novel. While I wish I hadn’t heard the speculation, I was still on edge until the final moment and I’m so glad I got to enjoy that.
In the end these women are a force to be reckoned with, and they stand by each other at the worst of times. I love how they show that beneath the surface of every beautiful home is a sea of skeletons. These women have their fair share, and with every minute their lives unravel further. They are perfectly imperfect and it makes you love them more.
The music is vital to Big Little Lies, and it lends a magic that really boosts the show to new heights. Every episode has held some amazing or unexpected song to perfectly showcase that week’s situation. Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, Leon Bridge’s stunning River, and Martha Wainwright’s Bloody Mother Fu***** Asshole (yes, that’s the title) are a few of my favorites. Not to be overlooked are the theme song, Michael Kiwanuka’s Cold Little Heart, and the instrumental that plays numerous times in the series: September Song by Agnes Obel.
Music aside, Big Little Lies would not be what it is without the stellar cast. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgard… and the list goes on and on. Even the kids they cast are fantastic: most notably Darby Camp as Chloe Mackenzie who steals many scenes with her wit and impeccable taste in music. Everyone is simply fantastic, but no one stands above Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright. She is brilliant in her portrayal of a mother stuck in an abusive relationship.
Big Little Lies will always hold a special place in my heart. No matter how many times I watch these episodes, I never grow tired of their drama. In fact, I love them all more. If you haven’t yet, please give this series a chance.