Here at Brainstain, we don’t often indulge in mini-TV-series programs like many other people do, however, there is one show in particular that’s caught our eye recently and it’s HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies‘. It features an all-star cast with Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, whom all play central roles in the series about three young mothers who have children in the first grade of school. To justify us watching this Hollywood-esque TV show, we confirmed Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Alexander Skarsgard didn’t ever delve into political comments and blindly back Hillary Clinton, so we felt obligated to watch it. Not a peep from them, so refreshing and their stock remains in tact. That’s how you keep it “classy”, unlike Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, George Clooney and countless others. There was no idiotic Trump-bashing in this casts repertoire at all, not even a trail of social justice warrior’s cringeworthy antics into voicing their political opinions, so watching it felt entirely justified. We decided to overlook anything Zoe Kravitz had ever said politically or about Trump, because we can all make an exception, can’t we? She is a full blown hippy after all, so go figure.
After the first six episodes, we felt it was time to weigh in on this interesting production by creator, David E. Kelley. The series which is set in picturesque Monterrey, California, tells the different intertwining stories of three mothers that have varying levels of burgeoning problems arising in their seemingly perfect “picket fence” lives throughout the show. So, a lot like real life in that you really don’t know what is going on behind closed doors, where often times marriage is a game of pretend. Clearly in this Uber sensitive community in Monterrey, they are SO liberal that they probably want illegal immigrants raping and murdering everybody, plus they’re probably pro-Islamic sharia law sympathisers there too (in the same vein of Barack Obama). However, we know full well that’s just who they are in the script, so it’s nothing to get worked up about really? We defy anyone who would criticize us for watching the show, justifiably.
Reese Witherspoon plays Madeline Mackenzie, an uptight mom who is divorced and in a second marriage with Ed Mackenzie (Adam Scott). She’s involved in the local theatre productions and is clearly married to a very plain and quiet guy, which ultimately sees her having an affair (spoiler alert) with a male colleague helping her put on the theatre production in the town. So all in all, Ed and Madeline’s marriage lacks the sex factor, so Madeline finds it elsewhere. Truly sad indeed, or is it plainly very real?
What’s strange about Madeline’s story is, in the first episode, she breaks her heel (bad omen or bad screenwriting?) then she meets a woman, called Jane Chapman (played by Shailene Woodley), who has a son called Ziggy, who was conceived from a man that Jane no longer really knows. A case of seemingly violent, abusive sex turned into a pregnancy, then which turned to single mother life with a grudge for this mystery man of years gone passed, that she one day hopes to find and kill in the near future.
This is how Jane and Madeline become friends, as Jane is new to Monterrey and she has enlisted Ziggy into the same school as Madeline’s daughter. Madeline later becomes a confidant of Jane’s story of the sexual abuse that she suffered, that led to Ziggy being born. Ever the woman for gossip and involving herself in other people’s lives, Madeline becomes a supportive shoulder for Jane, the new single mother that has just arrived in Monterrey with a seemingly shady past. Then, cue the nonsensical sub-plot that her son Ziggy is some sort of bully and he had seemingly strangled Laura Dern’s daughter in first grade, on the first day of school. This running sub-plot of who Ziggy’s father is, along with Renata Klein’s (Laura Dern’s) school grade vendetta for Jane and her son, due to him hurting her daughter continues throughout. This is something which perhaps the mini-series could’ve avoided, as it seemingly misses the mark completely. Still, there’s more appeal to the show than this strange and weak sub-plot.
Nicole Kidman plays Celeste Wright (who looks as beautiful as always), who is married to Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgard) with two twins, and their relationship is full of passion, romance, domestic abuse and violent sex. You might say that their relationship is one of those “toxic” relationships that’s best to avoid at all costs. However, with abusive relationships, it is often hard to let go and move on, which is the case with Celeste and her confusing marriage to Perry. One moment, it’s romantic and positive, the next it’s abusive and mentally straining. Will Celeste finally leave her husband? At what cost, will it take from her? Will her counselor finally get through to her, suggesting she abandons the marriage? Or, will she stay in this marriage until it gets even worse?
All the while, the mini-series has an ongoing theme throughout, where other people in the town are being asked questions by police investigators, in the context of them telling the story of Big Little Lies, under the presumed pretense that someone has been murdered. Who this murdered person is, has not yet been revealed yet, nor has there been any indication of who may have done it, or how this murder happened, so it’s all up in the air, right?
This probably isn’t as effective as the creator would’ve hoped for, but what does keep the series interesting is the overwhelming notion and under reported truth of how many married couples are just winging it in life within regard to raising their children and maintaining their current relationships, that’s where the appeal lies. There are so many people out there right now pretending to live perfect lives, right? In regard to the sub-plot with the murder that we don’t know about yet, we reckon that this will be resolved by the 7th and final episode.
Much to our surprise, Zoe Kravitz also stars in this show. She plays Bonnie Carlson, now married to Nathan Carlson who is Madeline’s ex-husband. They have a teenage daughter who later prefers to stay with Nathan rather than Madeline, because she’s an anally retentive parent. Cue the divorced parents power struggle over their first child with Bonnie, the younger Hippy step-mom, facing off against the perfect Madeline, who later finds out that her eldest daughter wishes to stay with her father instead of with her. In episode six, this eldest daughter almost auctions off her sixteen year old virginity on eBay, as a political statement in order to raise some sort of awareness for abused children and under-age sex. Oh, those crazy social justice warriors with a cause are exemplified by liberal hippy characters like Bonnie. Of course, Madeline doesn’t take too kindly to her influence on her eldest daughter, which would be understandable.
With just one more episode to go until the finale of a seeming first season, what will happen and who will be murdered? The final episode airs on Monday night on Sky Atlantic in the UK, whilst the show already ended in the U.S..
We’d just like to wrap this up and say that Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard are phenomenal throughout, and Zoe Kravitz is just our eye-candy.
We’ve felt a bit lady like following this show, since this is mainly a “chick-fil-a” and all, but it’s the definite appeal of the “PRETEND” in marriages that brought us here.
Even if we could scratch off some of the dire sub-plots, i.e. Ziggy the bully child and Shailene Woodley’s character from the script, then we would in a heartbeat. Still, we expect her necessity to be explained in the final episode. Not all shows can be a perfect ten throughout and there’s bound to be some weak sub-plots within, but we’d give the show a solid 7.9 rating out of ten, so far, for even getting us to watch it in the first place.
Will there be another season or is this just a one-off mini-series? Only episode 7 will tell. We know that the show’s already finished up in the U.S.A, so please refrain from posting spoilers to us in the comments section, as they will be promptly deleted.
Brainstain, over and out!
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Featured Photo Credit: Lost on TV