Big Lit­tle Lies

Ni­cole Kid­man’s dark sub­ur­ban drama

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

Prov­ing

that the small screen is where all the best stuff is hap­pen­ing – and Aus­tralia is play­ing a key role in de­liv­er­ing it – Syd­ney au­thor Liane Mo­ri­arty’s best- sell­ing novel Big Lit­tle Lies has just been brought to life in HBO’s new dark com­edy of the same name by di­rec­tor JeanMarc Val­lée ( Wild) and adapted by David E. Kel­ley ( Ally McBeal).

The cast list couldn’t get any bet­ter, made up of top- class Hol­ly­wood tal­ent in­clud­ing our very own Ni­cole Kid­man, plus Reese Wither­spoon, Shai­lene Wood­ley ( In­sur­gent), Laura Dern ( En­light­ened), Zoe Kravitz ( Mad

Max: Fury Road) and Alexan­der Skars­gard ( True Blood).

Set in the idyl­lic sea­side town of Mon­terey, Cal­i­for­nia, where fake smiles and fast cars are the fash­ion, this pen­sive drama tells the tale of three moth­ers of first- graders whose ap­par­ently per­fect lives un­ravel to the point of mur­der at a school fundraiser.

Though the vic­tim and the per­pe­tra­tor ini­tially re­main a mys­tery, it soon be­comes clear the killing was sparked by school yard scan­dals, fam­ily ri­val­ries and dan­ger­ous se­crets sur­round­ing the “vi­ciously com­pet­i­tive” moth­ers.

There are plenty of mo­tives – stay- at- home mum Made­line Macken­zie ( Wither­spoon) har­bours a rag­ing jeal­ousy to­wards her ex’s new, younger wife Bon­nie ( Kravitz), a yoga in­struc­tor with a Zen at­ti­tude; Made­line’s best friend Ce­leste Wright ( Kid­man) is a for­mer lawyer with a seem­ingly per­fect mar­riage to a younger man ( Skars­gård) that starts to go wrong; and Jane Chap­man ( Wood­ley) is a rough- roundthe- edges sin­gle mum with a shady past, whom Made­line and Ce­leste have taken un­der their wing.

In­ter­wo­ven with other par­ents and school staff ea­gerly shar­ing gos­sipy in­sights, of­ten re­volv­ing around Made­line and her neme­sis, ca­reer- driven mum Re­nata Klein ( Dern) – the tale un­winds over seven tense yet en­ter­tain­ingly funny episodes, re­veal­ing how each of the women had some­thing to hide lead­ing up to that fate­ful night.

The fam­i­lies might be rolling in cash but money can’t buy hap­pi­ness, and as one char­ac­ter says, “You can’t make a per­fect world. No mat­ter what, s— t hap­pens.” Cut­ting di­a­logue demon­strates the so­cial war­fare be­tween the adults, with bul­ly­ing and bitchy ver­bal bat­tles be­ing held on the play­ing field and at kids birth­day par­ties – and the words are as sharp as knives.

But who ac­tu­ally died and who did the killing? Be pre­pared for a long wait be­fore the truth is fi­nally un­veiled.

Kid­man and Wither­spoon are exec pro­duc­ers on the show, and Wither­spoon hailed the cast as “the great­est en­sem­ble I’ve ever [ worked with]”.

Based on a top qual­ity book and with a tal­ented cast, this show is set up to be a win­ner, and that’s no word of a lie. Big Lit­tle Lies, Mon­day, 8.30pm, Show­case ( pay- TV)

“Though the vic­tim and the per­pe­tra­tor ini­tially re­main a mys­tery, it soon be­comes clear the killing was sparked by school yard scan­dals, fam­ily ri­val­ries and dan­ger­ous se­crets sur­round­ing the ‘ vi­ciously com­pet­i­tive’ moth­ers.”

Lies worth telling: Shai­lene Wood­ley, Reece Wither­spoon and Ni­cole Kid­man in Big Lit­tle Lies.

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