When the first season of Big Little Lies was announced, the excitement soared with the eagle’s nest. With its stellar star cast, including names like Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley, and a visionary filmmaker in Jean-Marc Valle at the helm, the show promised big. And big it delivered. A dramatization of Lorraine Moriarty’s novel of the same name, ‘Big Little Lies’ exceeded expectations and became one of the most successful mini-series ever made. With five Emmys and three Golden Globes, the first season ensured a sequel that is due to premiere in 2019. Although there’s a change in the director’s seat, with acclaimed filmmaker Andrea Arnold swapping Valle, the second season is expected to deliver a similar performance. The addition of veteran Meryl Streep to the cast roster has made the urgency around its premiere even more intense.
Big Little Lies revolves around a murder that takes place at a local trivia night and the subsequent investigation. The narrative turns the clock and delves deep into the personal lives of its main characters of their past lives. Valle intertwines the two timelines with such stunning craftsmanship and originality; the end-product is a dazzling mixture of observant character exploration and gripping tension. The idea of marrying the past and the present isn’t a new notion for Valle. Almost all his films, and other projects, the most recent being the brilliant ‘Sharp Objects’, construct a vivid dream-like space that deals with the idea of a present defined by the past.
Be it Ron Woodroof’s contemplation about unprotected sex at rodeos, or Camille’s insecurity about her mother, Valle always manages to hit the sweet spot. The puzzling visuals that follow suit with Valle are plain-filled with a strong fabric of consciousness. ‘Big Little Lies’ takes on the challenge of presenting multiple timelines for different characters and also sculpts a symbiotic relationship between one character’s past and the other’s present.
‘Big Little Lies’ instantly becomes a must-watch due to its relevant themes. Domestic abuse, rape, and sexual incongruence are heavily drawn upon in the show. Different characters are utilized according to their experiences to represent a victim of heinous crimes. With its vast expanse of cultural and social exposition, ‘Big Little Lies’ becomes a novella-like subject to dissect.
The plot of ‘Big Little Lies’ draws on the life of a small town, Monterey, and its residents. It starts in the present with a murder at a public school. Through the use of flashbacks, the story takes us to the three protagonists, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane, all of whom are talked about by people at the school the night of the murder in the present. While Madeline and Celeste are friends and belong to the town, Jane is an outsider. She is befriended, though, by Madeline, whose cheering and extroverted personality ease Jane into her new life. Jane lives alone with her son, Ziggy. Flashbacks, which often come as disturbing nightmares for her, show Jane as a victim of rape. The child so conceived is Ziggy, whom she decided to give a dignified life.