Tension at the school gates? Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon star in a brilliant new adaptation of Liane Moriarty's bestselling book Big Little Lies. You're going to be hooked.
Clearly the days when Hollywood film stars had to worry whether a shift into TV might damage their career are long gone, but it still feels like something of coup for the small screen to see Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon brought together for a single TV show. But judging from the first four episodes, signing up to Sky Atlantic’s new series Big Little Lies was a stellar move. After launching in the U.S last month Big Little Lies has finally hit U.K screens.
Adapted from the Liane Moriarty book of the same name and directed by Wild‘s Jean Marc Vallee, Witherspoon, Kidman and Woodley play a trio of women in the affluent Californian coastal town of Monteray whose children all attend the same school. Jane (Woodley) is new to the town and a single mother, so Celeste (Kidman) and Madeline (Witherspoon) quickly take her under their wing.
Though the set-up is as sunny and idyllic as it gets, thanks to some artful flash-forwards we know there’s a murder coming – though the who and why are as yet unknown. There are a few mysteries laid out for us early on: why has Jane moved to the area, a question which the brilliantly busy-bodyish Madeline attempts to needle out of her, what is actually going on in Celeste (Kidman)’s outwardly perfect relationship with her husband (Alexander Skarsgard) and of course, what has led to the murder and (even more importantly) who is the murder victim?
This is a show in which the female characters take centre stage, with complexities and secrets that are slowly unravelled episode-by-episode. If you’ve read Big Little Lies in book form you’ll have a rough idea of what’s in store – if not you’re in for some surprises. You’ll also inevitably develop an enormous crush on Zoe Kravitz as Madeline’s ex-husband’s yoga-loving, effortlessly sexy wife Bonnie (in short every woman’s worst nightmare).
Big Little Lies is a stylish show – shot beautifully and atmospherically, with a razor-sharp and cliche-free screenplay and a cast of characters you want to know more about from the get-go. With TV like this, who needs Hollywood?
Big Little Lies is on Sky Atlantic every Monday at 9pm