I am an avid HBO programming subscriber. Be it Curb Your Enthusiasm, Westworld, Entourage, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, GIRLS; you name it, I have watched it. I had to download a VPN in order to watch HBO in Spain, and thank God I did because I would be lost without my HBO programming. I started a new show one night in February when I got bored with only having one show to watch live, Big Little Lies.
The cast is stacked, featuring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodly as the three female leads, and Zoe Kravitz as the main female supporting actress. The series, adapted from a novel, follows three women living in Monterey, California, a quiet seaside community, and their relationships with their husbands, children, community, and each other unfold before the viewers eyes. The hook from the first episode is that someone has been killed at a school fundraiser, the school where all the lead’s children attend, and a whodunit will unravel for the rest of the series. This show, rather then weaving you back and forth from suspect to suspect, lets the story unfold and does not focus to much on discovering who committed the murder, it lets you learn sit back and get to enjoy the characters.
Perhaps the most important story line on the show is that of Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and her abusive, but outwardly charming husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard). Big Little Lies explores spousal abuse in a way that I have not seen on television before. It does not glamorize or dramatize abuse in a way that feels unreal. In fact, Big Little Lies is sometimes difficult to watch because of the accurate, raw depiction of a man who “loves his family” but beats his wife viciously. It is hard to see this beautiful actress get kicked across her bathroom floor as her children watch TV in the next room, but it is important for people to see what domestic abuse really looks like. I will try not to spoil the show, but Celeste’s eventual justice is bittersweet, as justice for abused women often is. This smart, educated depiction of family violence is only one of the aspects that makes this show one of the best pieces of television I have ever watched.
Something else I really love about the show is its soundtrack. Big Little Lies uses the lead’s children as a device which through to reveal a stunning and broad musical array. From The Flaming Lips to The Alabama Shakes to Grace Slick, every song is a choice in this piece of theatrical art. The show does not feature any original composition, rather it compiles songs eclectic and electric enough to prompt me to Google “Big Little Lies” soundtrack immediately after watching the first episode. Each song is reflective of the show’s content and serves to push the characters and the storyline further, as a TV score should do.
If you haven’t had the chance to tune in, you can stream the seven episode series here.