This is a review of season 1 of Big Little Lies. I had seen the commercials for the show and the cast was what caught my attention the most. Reese Witherspoon as Madeline, Nicole Kidman as Celeste, Shailene Woodley as Jane and Alexander Skarsgård as Perry. I was really impressed with who was cast and it was part of my drive to read the book as well, because I knew that if I watched the show before I read the book, I was probably never going to read the book. The previews for Big Little Lies implied that there was lots of mystery and secrets afoot and that this was not a drama to be missed. After I finished the book and was meh about it, I still found myself curious about the television adaptation, so one weekend I sat down and watched it.
The tv show does follow the book remarkably well, it’s still a story that’s told through multiple viewpoints and backwards. We start off six months before a murder takes place during a school trivia fundraiser night. The main perspectives we get are from the three main characters, Jane, Madeline, and Celeste. Jane is the single mom of a child named Ziggy, Jane is 24 years old. Madeline is the mother of three children, she has just turned 40 years old. Celeste is the mother of two twin boys. The drama starts to unfold when Ziggy is accused of bullying another child. This events starts a whole drama between the mommy circles. The main trio become friends and we get to watch their lives unfold through the turmoil as well. The tv show did add additional story lines that were not in the book to add more dimension to the show.
What was missing in the tv show, was a sense of urgency, a desire to know who was going to die at the end. I’m not entirely sure if this was because I already knew who it was from reading the book, or if it really wasn’t there. The tone was different as well, with the book I felt like I was constantly looking for clues about the ending and the writing really led to the sense of urgency I felt. The tv show almost felt lackadaisical, it lacked any urgency and seemed to mosey towards the end. I continued watching because I wanted to see how exactly the end was going to be handled. The endings are slightly different in the way things are wrapped, the book-things were tied up better and the show was more open ended, potentially for more seasons. I didn’t love or hate either ending to be honest. As far as book to tv adaptations, this one was surprisingly close, while a couple of characters were different in terms of looks, the essence of their characters was still captured in a way that satisfied me and made me happy. When I turned this on, I was in the mood for a drama and that’s exactly what I got. I would recommend season one to anyone who actually liked the book.
I rate season one 2.5 stars out of 5 stars.