- Actors: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott
- Format: PAL, Subtitled
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- DVD Release Date: 31 July 2017
- Average Customer Review: 390 customer reviews
- ASIN: B01MTY0CQL
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Big Little Lies S1 
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Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley star in an HBO limited drama series that tells the darkly comedic story of three northern-California mothers whose seemingly perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.
In addition to Witherspoon (Oscar-winner for Walk the Line, Oscar-nominated for Wild) as Madeline, Kidman (Oscar-winner for The Hours, HBO's Hemingway & Gellhorn) and Woodley (Divergent series, Golden Globe-nominated for The Descendants), the cast includes Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood, The Legend of Tarzan) as Perry, Celeste's handsome yet volatile husband; Laura Dern (Oscar-nominated for Wild, Emmy-nominated for HBO's Enlightened) as Renata Klein, a high-powered career mom; Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) as Ed, Madeline's current husband; James Tupper (Revenge) as Nathan, Madeline's ex; Zoe Kravitz (the Divergent films) as Bonnie, Nathan's new wife; and Kathryn Newton (Supernatural) as Abigail, Madeline's teenaged daughter.
Big Little Lies is based on the bestselling 2014 novel by Australian author Liane Moriarty.
Big Little Lies is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Oscar-nominated for Dallas Buyers Club) and written by Emmy-winner David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal). EPs include Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Bruna Papandrea, Per Saari, David E. Kelley, Jean-Marc Vallée and Gregg Fienberg.
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The performances are flawless, especially from the five leading women - Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz and Laura Dern are fabulous. Reece Witherspoon is wonderful as Madeline: likeable, bossy, infuriating, nosy, well-intentioned, friendly, bitchy, demanding, generous. It's a gem of a role which she plays to the hilt. Kudos also to the men of the piece, particularly Alexander Skarsgard as Perry, ghastly husband to the beautiful Celeste.
He brings a genuine menace to his role as Perry and it's a quiet, physical menace that unsettles whenever he's on screen. A massive shout-out also to one of the smaller players, Robin Weigert as Dr Reisman, the marriage counsellor who Celeste and Perry consult with. Watching her with Kidman is mesmerising; she employs a theatrical stillness which truly enables Kidman to play off her - Kidman's Celeste ripping herself apart in near total silence, wanting so much to offer up her own truths, but terrified of giving name to the reality of her relationship.
Which brings me to Nicole Kidman. She's breathtaking, and absolutely deserved her Emmy. It's a brave, subtle, nuanced performance, sometimes with some long single camera takes in which her despair battles against her self-containment in a desperate attempt to maintain her impermeability. Her marriage is dangerous. She knows it, but she can't say it. It's a masterful portrayal of an abusive relationship from both her and Skarsgard, and has been rightly praised.
It's hard to think of too many ways in which Big Little Lies could be improved. Some may complain that it's too full of rich white people, but that's actually the point - this is not some working class dramedy. It's exactly the slice of moneyed perfection that most of us look at from afar which Moriarty and the filmmakers are dissecting. And they do it with incredible skill.
This glossy and I assume big budget (for television) series is set in a prosperous coastal community in California, centred on a group of women played by well-known actresses including Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern (who was in Jurassic Park long ago). My favourite though is an actress I had not come across before called Shailene Woodley who plays the single mother Jane Chapman, who has a good reason for not wanting to answer her young son’s questions about who his father is.
This series was devised and run by David E Kelley who previously created ‘Ali McBeal’ and ‘Boston Legal’. ‘Big Little Lies’ is more serious, slower moving and less fantastical than those shows.
There are only 7 episodes but they are long, so there is quite a lot of viewing time. The story slowly unfolds so it is worth watching all the episodes in order. From time to time the main story is intercut with scenes set at a later date of various people being questioned in a crime investigation, although we are not told to begin with exactly what has happened.
We therefore sense the story is leading up to something dramatic, perhaps a murder, and that presumably some of the characters we have got to know will be involved, but for some time do not know if this will be as victims or as perpetrators. However, ‘Big Little Lies’ is not a detective story nor primarily a crime drama.
It is mainly about the day to day lives of a group of women, seen as e.g. mothers worrying about whose child may be bullying whose at school, as wives (the series explicitly portrays married parents having active sex lives – is that legal!?) and in other endeavours such as organising an amateur production of the controversial musical ‘Avenue Q’. We see less of their working lives, although one of them runs a company.
When the striking denouement finally comes, the series avoids the obvious path of setting up a ‘whodunit’ crime mystery for Season 2. We are shown who does what to whom, when, where, how and why. The questions left to be resolved next Season are will they, should they, get away with it, and what will be the practical and emotional consequences for them and their community?
This series gained some rave critical reviews and some heavy-weight awards. I do not personally rate it at that level, although it features some good music and really comes alive in the last episode.
‘Big Little Liars’ is probably more aimed at viewers of the feminine tendency, so to the extent that this review, while positive, is not as ecstatic as some, you may have to allow for the fact that I am of the masculine tendency. However, that does not stop me giving 5 stars other films and TV series that probably appealed more to a female audience e.g. ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, ‘Ali McBeal’, ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Pretty Little Liars’. On the other hand, to ‘Big Little Liars’ I can give 3 stars plus overall, but if I could rate the last episode separately I would give that 5 stars .
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