Review: Big Little Lies (Pilot)

HBO’ss ready with a new series.

by Lisa Nieri

Big Little Lies has names like Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern and James Tupper in its cast: A-list movie stars borrowed for the TV screen to tell the story of three women, more specifically three moms, facing the adversities of life.

Madeline (Witherspoon) is a stay-at-home mom who has some issues with her ex-husband and his new wife. She’s younger, prettier and Abigail – Madeline’s oldest daughter – has a close relationship with her, which is the subject of jealousy on her mom’s end.

Jane (Woodley) is a single mom with a part-time job, having moved into town just now. She’s close to her son but the dad isn’t part of the picture. We know very little about her, but  she looks like a dependable person.

Celeste (Kidman) is the mother of two twins. Calm and loving, she has a nice husband who tends to overact in violent ways. He has a morbid side, reading grisly stories to his 6 years old boys about dead people. It only gets worse for him.

Anyway, we soon discover that Madeline is a very nosey mom and everyone at school knows this and resents it. She has an ongoinga feud (yes, bored people like having feuds) with another mother: Renata (Laura Dern). This is a rich little town where the name of the game is sparking jealousy in other people while trying to rise in social status. So much so that… all of this boils down to murder?

Yes, these women are about to get involved in murder. A school parent is found dead and the police are carrying and ongoing investigation. Facts are introduced to us through interrogation room scenes where parents slowly reveal the twisted dynamic involving Madeline, Jane, Celeste and Renata.

Is this enough to recommend or even promote Big Little Lies? The show presents itself with interesting characters and an engrossing backstory ready to be untapped, with some flashbacks (and flash forwards) to keep up your curiosity, but for the most part the show gives you very little details about the murder, so that you’re made to stick the pieces together.

Another couple of episodes will tell us if Big Little Lies is going to keep its promises. So far it has deep-digging main characters (all women),  great acting and a plot on the brink of becoming exciting.


Lisa Nieri / Writer (Lucca, Italy – 1990) Copywriter for Telefilm Central, Lisa studied communication at Università di Firenze. She’s covered local film festivals such as the Venice Biennale and is a massive movie lover and a series addict, always ready to engage in a new adventure with interesting characters. #TeamPijama

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