Warning: may contain spoilers!
From the moment the series begins they foreshadow the ending of the limited series by telling us that the fundraiser for the local elementary school in Monterey, CA has gone horribly wrong — that someone is dead. The series starts out as a thriller, with comedic humor. We see unique, isolating, dark moments surrounding almost every main character that is introduced to us. The compulsive, perfectionist wife Madeline Mackenzie, the controlled, and abused wife Celeste, and the fragile, victimized wife Jane Chapman. These female characters produce compelling performances that keep audiences wondering who, and most importantly why?
Each Sunday, the limited series delivered these compelling performances in the same way that pieces make up a puzzle. The audience is constantly in this position where they receive limited, signigifcant information that could otherwise be used to target just about anyone as suspect to committing a murder at one point or another. Even if some of their transgressions seem temporary, or come across as insignificant: the audience is still trying piece together each mom’s character in conjunction to their overall part within the mix of things happening within various plot points.
What made this story line very interesting is that it showed issues that happen everywhere: the location played a huge part in demonstrating this. These issues were, domestic violence, mid-life crises, mental health, abuse, rape, and cheating. These issues are what makes the show universal and applicable to most adult viewers. The series seems to be more geared towards women. However, that is not to say that men would not enjoy the series because, of the mystery behind the thriller driven story line.
A distinctive aspect about this series is that the characters are fully developed over time perfectly. There are almost no interruptions to that. The characters stay in character; it works for it’s complexed themes, yet overly simplistic story line. Another distinctive aspect about Big little lies, is how the shot angles portray each character in an unusual, realistic way. Shots are usually done up close and over the shoulder. There are also many different, creative medium, and close up shots of the moms and their children: these shots create intimacy and intensity.
The filming location was an excellent touch to giving the series a visually, compelling look: it also helped contribute to answering a major background question. Why these women? Culturally speaking, the series does not demonstrate a lot of cultural diversity. However, you could arguably say, it answers the question; why these women? The series also has a very, unique soundtrack; its one memorable detail that really influences the background we see.
The series has the ability to pull audiences in all sorts of directions. The series also has the ability to seem so simple: that the audience member says to themselves; it has to be who I think it is. I think that from the start the series was meant to be what it is; a limited series. It is not like a traditional series that has many, sophisticated plots. It was always meant to be generally complicated yet, overwhelmingly simple: who and why?
The ending of this series was somewhat of a surprise to me; however, at the same time I was pretty convinced that one situation was continually bad compared to all of the rest. The other situations became possibilities, but one particular situation continued to fester which made the series somewhat predictable. However, the outcome of that predictability became unpredictable. Two seperate situations of abuse became linked to the abuser; this not only answered who, but also why.