DVD review: Big Little Lies starring Reese Witherspoon

Big Little Lies is for me personally and for my girlfriends one of the best psychological crime series ever made. I might be biased for a couple of reasons but after binge watching it within few nights with my BFF I must confess that I absolutely love it and will watch it again and again to savour the little details. First of all Reese Witherspoon is my latest cover interviewee on the Summer issue and secondly the main characters are mums like us who meet through their children's school and live daily dramas at school pick ups and PTA fundraisers. Deja Vu?

The seven- episode limited drama series is available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Download, via iTunes, Amazon Video and Google play, courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment®. Series 2 cannot come early enough.  

   

   

The story

In the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, nothing is quite as it seems. Doting mums, successful husbands, adorable children, beautiful homes: What lies will be told to keep their perfect worlds from unraveling? Told through the eyes of three mothers – Madeline, Celeste and Jane – BIG LITTLE LIES paints a picture of a town fueled by rumors and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors. Based on the New York Times number-one bestseller of the same name by Liane Moriarty, BIG LITTLE LIES is a subversive, darkly comedic drama that weaves a tale of murder and mischief as it explores society’s myth of perfection and the contradictions that exist beneath our idealized façade of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship.  

The Trailer

The talents

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, for which he received an editing Oscar® nomination; Wild; Demolition), BIG LITTLE LIES is written for television and created by David E. Kelley (seven-time Emmy® winner for Picket Fences, “LA Law,” “The Practice” and “Ally McBeal”; “Goliath”). The stellar cast includes Reese Witherspoon (Oscar®, Golden Globe and SAG Award winner for “Walk the Line”; Oscar®, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee for “Wild”; “Inherent Vice”); Nicole Kidman (Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee for “Lion”; Oscar® winner for “The Hours”; Golden Globe winner for “To Die For,” “Moulin Rouge!” and “The Hours”; SAG Award nominee for “Rabbit Hole” and “The Paperboy”; Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Hemingway & Gellhorn”); Shailene Woodley (Independent Spirit Award winner, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee for “The Descendants”; “Divergent”; “The Fault in Our Stars”); Laura Dern (Oscar® nominee for “Wild” and “Rambling Rose”; Golden Globe winner for HBO’s “Enlightened,” “Recount” and “Afterburn;” five-time Emmy® nominee); Zoë Kravitz (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Divergent”); Alexander Skarsgård (“The Legend of Tarzan,” HBO’s “True Blood”); Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation,” “Black Mass”); James Tupper (“Men in Trees,” “Revenge”); and Jeffrey Nordling (“Sully,” “Motive”). Executively produced by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, David E. Kelley, Bruna Papandrea (“Gone Girl”; “Wild”; the Oscar® nominee “Milk”), Per Saari (“Rabbit Hole,” “The Family Fang,” “Monte Carlo”), Jean-Marc Vallée, Nathan Ross (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Wild,” “Demolition”) and Gregg Fienberg (four-time Emmy®-nominee; HBO’s “True Blood” and “Deadwood”), and produced by Barbara A. Hall (“Ray,” “Milk”) and Liane Moriarty.  

The verdict

BIG LITTLE LIES is most definitely the best US TV drama I have watched in a long time and gets my full score 10/10. It has a well written screenplay based on a fantastic novel by Liane Moriarty, a stellar cast and makes me want to watch it again back-to-back to pay attention to the little details that I might have missed at the first screening . I have also ordered the book so that I can prolong the enjoyment for a while longer. In the first few minutes of the very first episode the audience is presented with a central mystery, a brutal murder at a glamorous PTA fundraiser of Monterey's primary school. In parallel, we see quick cuts from police interviews, in gossip format and speculation of potential witnesses and people who knew the suspects.  

The best part of this series is the suspicion that runs through all characters' backstories. It doesn’t really matter who just died. Throughout the episodes we find out that every characters had reasons to kill a person in the village. I must admit that I kind of knew who was going to bite the dust but I could have never predicted how that death happened. 

The five main biggest little liars include newcomer in Monterey Jane, former lawyer Celeste, housewife Madeline, career woman Renata and beautiful,  yoga teacher mother and and cool stepmum Bonnie.

The novel explains in more detail the reasons behind the murderous act and the person who does it. But for cinematographic reasons it's easy to understand why the TV producers  decided to remove this backstory from the TV adaptation. 

Underlining all characters' stories there is always a domestic violence incident of some sort. This is one of the major themes of Big Little Lies which insinuates that domestic violence is more complicated and more common than it seems.

 

I loved the unique camera work while it wanders around amazing rich homes on the Monterrey beach in Northern California. The shots constantly jump backward and forward, between reality, memory and dream. It feels like following the characters from the inside out.

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About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London http://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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