I finally finished watching HBO’S latest mega hit series, Big Little Lies. In fact, I burned through it in one night because I couldn’t take my eyes off the groundbreaking wonder that was in front of me.
Based on the novel by Liane Moriarty, the miniseries tells the story of a group of women living in the upscale community of Monterey, each with their own dark secrets. But this was no ordinary series, and don’t you dare dismiss it as silly fodder for women given its female-led cast. Big Little Lies was superbly written by David E. Kelley and beautifully crafted by director Jean-Marc Vallée, bringing us the kind of prestige drama you can only expect to find on television these days.
While the cast gave me plenty of be excited about (I mean how many times do you see so many female stars of that calibre working together?), it was the characters they brought to life that pulled me in. Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline Mackenzie could easily have been written off as a type-A, control freak, yoga mum, but those assumptions were quickly taken down by gorgeous, nuanced writing. Madeline was a mother struggling with the growth of her children, while her ex-husband annoyingly seemed to appear at every turn proving himself to be a doting father and husband to his younger wife (Zoë Kravitz). Meanwhile, Laura Dern’s Renata Klein was constantly dealing with feelings of inadequacy as a mother, not wanting to apologise for her success and dedication to work, all the while navigating the ups and downs of parenting.
What Big Little Lies offers that so many films in particular struggle with was fully fleshed out female characters. No one was just the girlfriend, the hot colleague, the bitch, or any other crappy stereotype female actors often get stuck with. They were real, and real is really great to watch.
Take Nicole Kidman’s stunning performance for example. On the outside Celeste Wright lives the perfect life. She’s loved in her community and more importantly, by her two gorgeous sons and handsome husband. But as we quickly learn, Celeste is trapped in a hyper-sexual, abusive relationship. The series deals with this thoroughly, throwing us in the deep end and making us question everything we initially thought about the Wright family.
More importantly, we’re given insight into Celeste’s internal struggle in a way that’s so rarely explored in film or television. It’s upsetting that seeing three-dimensional female characters is still so fresh and exciting for audiences, but encouraging that shows like this continue to stun critics and captivate consumers.
While my adoration for the series is crystal clear, I am 100 per cent adamant that it should end there. One book, one series. Makes sense right? However, I’ve read comments online and heard from friends about how they’d love to go another round. Why though?
What we were given was perfect, and if you’re desperate to find out what happens to the characters after the fateful night…well…use your damn imagination and leave a good thing alone.