Review: Big Little Lies

It is difficult to say anything new about a show that has already been written about by every Huffington Post writer worth their salt. Which is why I refrained from clicking on those articles about Big Little Lies like sexual harassment accuseds refrain from sincere apologies. It was the string of awards Big Little Lies received, that first drew my attention to the show. The fact that one of my now-favourite people in the world, Reese Witherspoon, stars in it, and was an executive producer of the show, sealed the deal for me. Thanks to Hotstar, my demand was met with HD supply.

And so I sat down, one fine night, to watch “one episode” of the show. And a short 7 hours later, I got up, hating myself and re-evaluating all my life choices, but blissfully done with the season. If we lived in a world where entertainment truly reflected reality, Big Little Lies would have been no big deal of a show at all – boring, even.
But we happen to inhabit a world where we are used to stories that portray female characters as unidimensional caricatures of a handful of traits, like, bitchy, or sweet, or pretty, or petty, or sexy, or ugly, or sacrificing, or temptress, or victimized. That one person – let alone one woman – could be more than one of the above is an idea that is, sadly, revolutionary for a show producer, and revelationary for a viewer. Add to that a murder mystery which is not only a whodunit, but a who-got-done, and you have yourself the wonderful thing that is Big Little Lies.
By the end of the first episode, you will feel like you have got the characters pegged. By the second, you will be thrown by the shades they possess, and left rather shamefaced at the judgment and pre-conceived notions you directed towards these fictional folks. By the third, you give up on judging and just start letting the layers unfold – probably a lesson we would all do well to extend to real life as well.
As someone who has read and watched more than my fair share of predictable whodunits (thank you, Bollywood’s telltale evil-guy eyebrows and ominous background score), I have grown all too accustomed to being able to predict the murderer (even without the cues). Happy to share that I was wrong in this case. Happy to share that you will most definitely guess wrong too.
Go watch Big Little Lies, I cannot recommend this enough. My only advice – Assume you will not be able to stop midway during the season. Plan ahead so that you do not get done with it at 4am on a weeknight. Sadly, Indian workplaces have not yet evolved enough to have Binge-watching Leave on the HR Manual.

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