Living the Dream
Push Comes to Shove
You Get What You Need
Boasting a stacked cast, a well written self-contained story and 7 incredibly well shot episodes, Big Little Lies is an outstanding mini series. The realistically depicted dialogue flows perfectly and every character is given enough on screen time to stand out in their own way. The sporadic nature of Big Little Lies’ editing as it jumps forward and backward is unique enough to hide the mystery around a death in the community but gives just enough hints and clues to keep the mystery as the driving force of this show. The final episode is the cherry on top of a very impressive cake as the victim and their killer is finally revealed, rounding Big Little Lies out as one of the finest shows of 2017.
The story predominantly follows 3 Mums and their families. Boisterous Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) struggles with her children growing up and not needing her anymore whilst simultaneously dealing with conflicted emotions toward her current husband Ed (Adam Scott) and loathing her ex husband Nathan (James Tupper) and his new wife Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz). Jane (Shailene Woodley) struggles after moving to town and finding her son Ziggy accused of biting Renata’s (Laura Dern) daughter and their feud encompasses most of the 7 episodes. Finally, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) appears to have the perfect life with her twin sons and good looking husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgård) but their volatile relationship hides violence and fear.
There’s no denying that the 7 episodes have an awful lot going on and writing this out sounds convoluted and messy. Despite the complicated nature of the story, Big Little Lies weaves its multiple subplots with such finesse and exquisite precision that the flow is never disrupted and balances equal doses of hard hitting drama and gripping mystery perfectly. The harsh editing cuts between police interviews in the future discussing various character actions and personalities and back to present day where we see said characters live up until the fateful incident. What makes Big Little Lies so interesting is the stark contrast between the way these characters behave and the way the community perceive them and its here that Big Little Lies really lives up to its name. The jarring way sudden bursts of disturbing imagery offsets the family drama is a harsh reminder of what lurks around the corner and makes every episode unsettling and gripping at the same time.
With such a great cast, it’s easy to overlook just how effortless the entire cast manage to portray their roles. Every single character, even the children, have a great awareness of their character and presence on screen. With multiple lines of long dialogue, the non-speaking characters have great non verbal cues and appear to want to jump in to the conversation just like real life, rather than waiting statically to deliver their line. It’s so well implemented throughout the show that it’s easy to overlook some of the nuance and subtlety that goes into this but it elevates Big Little Lies to such a high peak, its hard not to admire what the creators have done with this show.
With a gripping mystery, well written characters and flawless dialogue, Big Little Lies is a very good show and at 7 episodes, isn’t too much of a time sink either. The characters are ultimately what makes this such an enthralling watch and the realistically depicted dialogue and non verbal cues on screen help to elevate Big Little Lies above other dramas. The show has great production value too and the outstanding editing is some of the reason for this. The harsh jumps between the future and present time are well implemented and fused together by a gripping storyline that demands your attention throughout the show. The ending does leave room for a second season too but the climactic finale is good enough to satisfy on its own. This well written mini series is an outstanding watch and deserves its critical acclaim for what it’s managed to achieve here which is simply one of 2017’s best series.
Verdict - 9/10