Big Little Lies – Review by S.

Credits to IMDB

We are only in April and the 2017 He's already got one of the best tv series, in many ways, in recent years; Big Little Lies, seven episodes aired between February and April on HBO, It's definitely the phenomenon of the moment, already in the odor of Emmy.

Based on the novel written by Liane Moriarty and created by David and. Kelley (Ally McBeal and Boston Legal among his works), the series excels in several respects: the casting director, from the dialogues to photography is very difficult to find some flaw. There are many things to say, should then start from the simplest: first of all, the plot. Such a careless glance, You may have the impression of being in front of the soap-opera-style series again on a group of women ricche e annoiate; a drama of Desperate Housewives, that follows four friends and their lives in opulent enemy-Monterey, very far from our reality, between vitriolic barbs and fake smiles. But nothing could be further from the truth. Both the lives of the protagonists are coated inside and how their problems are, in background, the same as all: the “big little lies” are, at the beginning, fake smiles that hide envy in the eternal struggle between housewives and mothers in career but, continuing the vision, take on a more general significance, almost universal, only to refer to either the statements made to the police in the season finale is at human relations as a whole.

Credits to IMDB

The narrative is fragmented, from the very first episode we are told that someone has died during a party, but we won't see until the final; This way of presenting the story is significant: the murder is presented as main event, the fulcrum of the entire narrative, and in fact one side is always curious to know who died and who the murderer; on the other hand, but, the storyline of the protagonists live their own lives, seem already fulfilled itself without playing the card of a highlight as a homicide; the dead mysterious serves only as a pretext to make us watch the fascinating dynamics of the relationships between the protagonists. Madeline and her friends deal with universal themes and important, from divorce to the lack of passion in marriage, from domestic violence to not feel made just as mothers, never use a tone too conservative but they dig deeply into those topics, We have the difficulty that women, regardless of their social class, they face in today's society: be the best mother, the best wife, always young, in the form, with the most beautiful House, arrange the best parties and have always won. The link between the lives of the protagonists and the final murder there is always remembered by interrupting the flow of the narrative to insert police interrogation scenes: only in this way we remember that everything we see in the first six episodes is intended to culminate in that crime.

This technique is relevant under other two profiles: What we see are interrogation comments, cute little typically, other characters involved, they almost look like the typical country comments and gossip; personal observations and interpretations that make gigantic details, snap judgments and sharp jokes: once again, little white lies, but they are the frame of a murder. The other reason why it is worth dwelling on the interrogation scenes is more technical: are included within the main narrative almost had a comment, approaching the series more than anything in the style of a documentary; seems to follow the news of women's lives in Monterey helped by expert commentary Super partes. This almost documentary style is the signature of Director Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild, with the strong performance just by Reese Witherspoon), It is also found in other situations: the most significant of all is that of couples therapy that undergo Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Perry (Alexander Skarsgård); the scenes are particularly long, full of silences and glances, so much as to seem almost real time scenes, without involving any fitting and no post production.

The hand of Jean-Marc Vallée is also recognized in other details, and it is largely thanks to him that the main characterisation of this series: the colors are always suffused, the tones never screamed, vast and pristine landscapes; eppure, the feeling that the setting conveys is not that of peace and serenity, but that restless and suspense. As opposed to all those elements, indeed, There is l’Ocean, framed often and since opening theme, that is not calm and inviting in style The O.c.. but it is violent and impetuous; deep blue is not color but it is gray and frothy, mysterious and violent. The majestic villas of the protagonists (with the exception of Jane) should symbolize the perfection of their lives, but overlooking the ocean and surrounded by a nature more impervious than welcoming, We already allow to realize that things are not exactly as they seem.

Credits to IMDB

The other highlight of BLL is its phenomenal cast: Reese Witherspoon (Madeline), Nicole Kidman (Celeste), Shailene Woodley (Jane), Zoe Kravitz (Bonnie) and Laura Dern (Renata) give life to their characters with mastery, both in individual performance than in the dynamics with each other. Reese Witherspoon is the one that hits the viewer more quickly, Thanks to its explosive character Madeline: enters the scene to leg, has the sharpest language of the West Coast ("Renata, Jane is not a nanny. She's just young ... like you used to be") and poking at any question assuming entitled, sometimes causing more harm than good. But it soon becomes apparent that the quality does not derive only from Madeline but also from the same Witherspoon; the criticism is unanimous in calling this one of the best (If you do not the best) his performances: his accent, his facial expressions and his times make layered a character that could have easily be flat and stereotyped; Madeline is hyperactive and intrusive, at times overbearing, but it also has many insecurities and doubts; Reese manages to convey all these features, and this is due to his long career: While Hollywood increasingly on ever younger actresses, Reese Witherspoon, a 40 years, gives us a lesson on what accounts the experience: It is impossible to look at her and wondering about the evolution that has taken from Elle Woods to Madeline Mackenzie, its flagship.

Credits to IMDB

But if Madeline is what, with his way of doing, strikes us immediately, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is the one that slowly passes from the background to the foreground, capturing our attention in an almost hypnotic. It is no coincidence that you have already given from the favourites for an Emmy (the nominations we already take for granted): Since we see it in the first scene, there is something about her that captivates the Viewer, definitely put on alert by the idyllic romance with her husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), but when it gets to the heart of the violence that pervades their relationship we already all in adoration of Nicole. The dialogues with Perry are conversations almost trivial but, in that context, Hide threats and promises of violence; It is not easy to convey the fear from a sentence like “We're taking the children to school“, said with a smile in a beautiful bedroom; but just a Flash in the gaze of Nicole to feel the tension that has been created, just a subtle movement of her face. The best scenes are definitely those of couples therapy, especially one where Celeste, during a session without Perry, first deny and after, slowly, come to admit that her husband is a violent: There are great dialogues or great demonstrations of shock, There is only you, sitting on a sofa; is Dodge, badgered by the therapist (Robin Weigert) denies, remember the positives of Perry, She blames herself; but after, pressed, with a look and a tear admits that Yes, fears for his life, We understand, without saying a Word, How bows his head and his body seems to relent under an invisible pressure. Another notable scene is the one in the machine by Madeline after the two friends have convinced the Mayor to stop blocking the representation of “Avenue Q“: Celeste, for a few minutes, covered the role of advocate, He gave up for the jealousy of Perry, and realizes how much she misses work. The two, in the small space of the car, addressing the vexed question of the desire beyond being mothers, of guilt to dare even just want more; But while Madeline admits her feelings, We know that the question for Celeste is different and more complicated: for her it's not just leave the kids at home, for her work would be like betraying Perry. Celeste does not say anything about this to her friend, is limited to a “I want more“, but at that time his whole body to tell the rest of the story: is stiff, is as oppressed, chained, want to cry but must refrain, want to get away but cannot.

Fits most controversial and compelling as another of the elements of the series, that is the description of the domestic violence, a marriage made for misuse and abuse. What is most striking is how they avoided the classic stereotypes that is easy to fall telling tales of this type; We don't just show a victim and her tormentor, plates and without substance, classed in these definitions; who's been there and those who deal with these issues is well aware that the reality is never so clear-cut but is, rather, made of nuances, subtle lines and borders, so much that it's hard to realize to have exceeded. Celeste is, without no doubt, the victim of an abusive husband, but we don't see it always submissive and with bowed head, obedient and silent while it undergoes the nastiness of Perry; do not, Celeste raises his voice, the causes, looks like he wants to take him to unleash his violence. It is not a strange thing nor an element that should make us doubt his position and the fact that needs help (as many do); a sudden generally common to women victims of violence is the absolute loss of control: over their lives, on your profession, on how to dress, for those who attend. Cause her husband/partner is not a foolish gesture, It is not a “buscársela to search”, It is the only time you can be in control in the report: Celeste (along with all the other women in the same condition) they know what will meet, but cause Perry is the only way that remained to make their voices heard, to remind herself to have one; d ’ the other hand, This is a double edged sword: This rebellion, This counterattack, is a very important side of Heavenly character but is also what fuels his guilt: I can't leave him, because I make him angry, and to some extent it is true; What Celeste must learn is that Perry's problems are independent of her and I'm not his responsibility. Even the character of Perry It is characterized wonderfully: It is not evil is just, is complex, faceted, sweet and shortly after violent; It is natural to worry about him and hope he can improve. Who would have expected it to be the first to speak during the session from the therapist and, above, It was the first to admit of being violent? Like everything in Monterey, from the outside it seems her husband model (and often it is), but actually hides a truth far more murky. Perry fights a battle with his inner demons, knows to be wrong, but he can't help it; Obviously this is not an excuse, but partly answers the eternal question: “why women remain?”. Women remain because they know other sides of that man who beats up and, How do you explain very clearly Celeste, among them is something else: She was close during the difficulties in getting pregnant, He was with her at the birth of twins, in many areas has been its strength and security. It's not like being assaulted in the street by a stranger, It is still a person who loved and who you love, It's hard to even realize that something's wrong, let alone get to the point of leaving it. For Celeste now comes when he realizes that violence hit (inevitably) even the children: This is the line unsurpassed, and that's where it begins to organize his escape route from Perry. Icing on the cake of this storyline are the violent scenes between the two characters: Vallée has a turn with a difference, are done very little evidence before scene, It's almost an improvisation closer to theatre to film and television, What that recreates that feeling of documentary that I said at the beginning; aesthetically the choice of the cast proved apt: Nicole Kidman, with his 5 ' 10 tall, is generally a prominent figure, But Alexander Skarsgård (1,94 cm) manages to make her look small, to convey the idea of oppression. All this, coupled with the fact that Kidman and Skarsgård turned personally all the moments of violence (the stand-in intervened in one scene), has meant that those moments they got exactly the effect searched for, namely embarrass the Viewer. It's not hard to see why the same actors tell of having been emotionally very upset by scenes, making it difficult to forget the set once at home in the evenings.

Credits to IMDB

In terms of narrative, the revelation final It's the trick that keeps the Viewer (and the reader) entertained and impressed with the denouement. In the few scenes, with very few dialogues, Perry's true nature is exposed, on two floors: It shows in public as a violent husband and, with two looks (one from Jane to Madeline, the other from Madeline Celeste) us (and their) We understand who is also Jane rapist (and father of Ziggy). At that moment the struggle of all women against Perry: to defend celestial and themselves; They seem destined to flounder until the arrival of Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), that throws him off the ladder. The intervention of Bonnie isn't easily explained, especially for those who have read the book, where his past is told in more detail (even Bonnie, indeed, was the victim of an abusive father), But even the idea that intervenes only to defend other women is not entirely farfetched. The series ends with the latest lies told, those of the protagonists to the police investigating the death of Perry; would be most important declarations, Yet we see them for breaking and even without audio; What matters is that all four are together (telling that Perry has slipped) to help each other, to help Bonnie (the actual murderer), but also Jane (shocked to discover) and Celeste (with his painful secret).

Big Little Lies It concludes by confirming to be a series of women and on women, Universal stories about women, that sometimes, relying on each other, enough in themselves (as the final scene). Not by chance, women are also at the origin, behind the scenes, della serie: were Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, with their respective production companies, awarded by the author of the book the television rights for the transposition of the story, but got them with the promise, torn by Moriarty, that they'd played Celeste and Madeline. The series is also a victory for all HBO that the past year had lost some’ of its enamel (because of Vynil and the second season of True Detective, fighting with the ever increasing competition from Netflix); not that the HBO lacks the flagship series (see Game of Thrones but also The Leftovers), but BLL He brought a spike in share as well as attention from critics and audiences, comparable to the golden years of Sex and the City and The Sopranos. Finally, BLL is the first series to officially confirm the passage of so-called A-list Hollywood actors from the television landscape: is a trend started by time, mainly due to the creative freedom, similar to that of the big film productions, that some network (such as HBO or Netflix) allow Director and authors; But if until now the television had been able to find important roles for actors who, inexplicably, they were snubbed by the cinema, It is now completely cleared as new stage, comparable to that of cinema in everyway.

Vote in the series: ♥♥♥♥♥ – “I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets“, Madeline a us!

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