Based on the wonderful eponymous book of Liane Moriarty (Brazilian title: Pequenas Grandes Mentiras), Big Little Lies is the new bet of HBO. With an engaging plot and a strong cast, the series will undoubtedly be another success of the channel.
The plot revolves around a mysterious murder that occurred at an event at the kindergarten. Following the same narrative as the book, the focus is divided between deepening the lives of mothers Madeline, Celeste and Jane and showing the testimonies of the crime that occurred. The decision to keep this double narrative was ingenious, as it is what dictates the tone of mystery in the work of Liane Moriarty, where we try to unravel who died through the testimonies that are not at the end of each chapter.
As we try to unravel the identity of the victim and murderer, we see the parallel plots in the parents' personal lives, which is where the "little big lies" live. Madeline Martha Mackenie (Reese Witherspoon) is an agitated, well married and dedicated housewife, raising her daughters and working part time. On school orientation day, Madeline, who is known to be somewhat busted and nosy, decides to confront a car where the driver is talking on her cell phone and ends up falling over, twisting her ankle and being rescued by Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) a young single mother, mother of Ziggy (Iain Armitage), who just moved there.
After dropping the kids off at school, they meet up with Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), Madeline's best friend, mother of twins and married to the wealthy and caring Perry (Alexander Skarsgård). Beautiful, graceful and rich, Celeste seems to have the perfect life, with the perfect wedding. But over time we will discover that Perry, even though he seems to be a fairytale prince, also has his serious flaws.
This pilot presents the problems that will govern the work, in addition to the crime, we have the issue of Ziggy being accused right in the first contact with his colleagues of trying to hang Ammabelle (Ivy George), daughter of the arrogant businesswoman Renata Klein (Laura Dern). This event triggers a rivalry between mothers, revealing psychological issues that will help to understand what happened in the factual school event.
The episode also introduces the main trio's personal issues, focusing more on Madeline, who is going through a midlife crisis as she sees her daughters growing up and revealing some unsolved emotional issues with her ex-husband. Despite this, she is very well married to Ed Mackenzie (Adam Scott), which proves to be a great companion.
Jane reveals little about her mysterious past, nothing is known about Ziggy's father, but we know that her change was not accidental and some flashbacks imply that the character has undergone some major trauma. Celeste has her main question introduced, her problem with her husband is little explored, however well presented in a few scenes, leaving no doubt for the viewer that there will still be much to see in this complicated relationship.
The strong point in Moriarty's work is realism, the personal problems of the characters are very feasible to happen to anyone and this, together with the mystery about the murder, manages to leave the book deep and arrest the reader. The series followed the same path, maintaining the formula of success and also manages to pique our curiosity, it is practically impossible not to end the episode desperately wanting to watch the whole season.
The view is also impressive, the story is set in a beautiful city, full of beaches and incredible houses overlooking the sea, the scenery and photography managed to represent the beauty and status of this city very well. The direction of Jean-Marc Vallée proves to be very competent, managing to increase the tension with strategic cuts.
Of course, the cast was the key to success for the quality of the series. With so many big names, there was no doubt about the quality of the performances and everyone hands over their roles very well, especially Kidman and Witherspoon, who can demonstrate deep problems with just one look. Zöe Kravitz, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Sarah Burns and PJ Byrne complete the cast of Big Little Lies, which is executive produced by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
Big Little Lies it has the potential to please everyone, those who read the original work, for being very faithful to the adaptation, and those who haven't, for being able to explain very well the complex issues of the plot.
The first episode of the series, consisting of 7 episodes lasting 1 hr, will go on February 19th, at HBO.