Putting Women First: Big Little Lies

In a tranquil beachfront town filled with stunning homes and placid coffee shops, lies a community of doting moms and successful husbands fueled by rumors and jealousy. Big Little Lies covers the intertwining stories of these wealthy families living in Monterey, California. Behind a demeanor of perfection, each family has fractured relationships involving infidelity or physical abuse. As gossip continues to whirl, the community that “pounds people with nice,” becomes the center of a tragic murder.

The show begins by introducing two mothers from Monterey, Madeline Mackenzie and Celeste Wright. Jane Chapman, moves to Monterey from Santa Cruz with her son Ziggy and after giving Madeline and her daughter Chloe a ride to school, they become friends. Madeline and Celeste quickly fill Jane in on everything there is to know about Monterey, from the best coffee shops in town to the gossip around each mother and the elite public school. As their friendship strengthens, each episode reveals more about the private lives of the three.

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Jane Chapman, Madeline Mackenzie and Celeste Perry meet for coffee. Photo Courtesy of HBO.

The American miniseries was adapted from Liane Moriarty’s best-selling book, and since its release in 2017, has gained respect from a variety of audiences. According to Business Insider, the final episode was watched by 1.9 million people, having a 34% rise in viewership from the episode the week before. From early on, it proved to be a hit for HBO, in terms of cinematography, soundtrack, and overall plot.

In my opinion, I believe that Big Little Lies is one of the best television shows of our generation, because of its honest portrayal of characters and storyline. Throughout the series, the narratives of Celeste, Madeline and Jane truthfully explore society’s myths and the romanticization of friendship, marriage, sex and parenting. Along with this, Big Little Lies stands out from the rest because of its head-on approach to topics of rape and physical abuse. In recent years, these subjects have become extremely controversial with cases like the People v. Turner (involving a Stanford student athlete indicted with the rape of an unconscious individual). Through its female star power, Big Little Lies addresses these issues in an illuminating manner, and as cast member Reece Witherspoon said herself, “puts women first.”

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Celeste and her husband Perry. Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Every cliche set up within each woman quickly falls away as the series continues and the audience soon realizes that all the women are more interesting as well as flawed than their lifestyles suggest. As The Guardian puts it, “If the central truism – that money doesn’t buy happiness – is basic, these women are not. All have secrets, and their accompanying sadness and shame pay no heed to wealth or status.”

Because of its popularity, many are adamant about seeing a second season of the show. Yet, the director of the series, Jean Marc Vallee spoke out recently about why a second season shouldn’t happen. “The end is for the audience to talk about,” he explained. “Imagine what you want to imagine and that’s it. We won’t give you a season two because it’s so good like this. Why spoil it?”

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Cast of Big Little Lies. Photo Courtesy of Steve Granitz/WireImage.

As Ed Scott, an actor on Big Little Lies explained to the LA Times, there’s something very nice about the ambiguity in the finale. It lets the audience decide whether or not the women made the right choices, and wonder about the consequences they will have. One thing is for sure, it’s a big little lie to claim that the show isn’t absolutely spectacular after watching it.

Author: Ana Chavez

Ana Chavez is a Senior and one of the co-editors of the Eye. This is her second year as a reporter, and she has been attending SAS since kindergarten. Some of her hobbies include baking cookies, organizing her room, and annoying her older brother. She can be contacted at chavez30348@sas.edu.sg.

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