The book Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is one of those juicy, turn-off-your-brain, guilty pleasures that everyone needs once in a while. It’s about a murder in a small, affluent beach town where everyone is a suspect. I’m such a big fan of this book and others by Moriarty that I was very much looking forward to getting a sneak peak at the first two episodes of the new HBO show of the same name and talking to Executive Producers and stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. I went to a preview earlier this month in Los Angeles.
I’ll start with the show; other than being set in Monterey, California instead of a beach town near Sydney, Australia, it’s very true to the book. It’s like Moriarty wrote it with these actresses in mind. Kidman, who is always dreamy and sad looking, is good as Celeste, the beaten-down former lawyer turned stay-at-home mom of twins. Witherspoon finds the right blend of charming and infuriating as Madeline, that mom who is always at the center of everyone’s business. And Shailene Woodley’s Jane, the young and mysterious single mom, is just right.
It’s not quite as funny as the book, but I was hooked after about 15 minutes. Everyone in the town is beautiful and they live in gorgeous homes with stunning views of Monterey. Big Little Lies is also shot beautifully and reminded me a little bit of Netflix’s Bloodline. What I really liked about it was that while it’s over the top, the underlying issues are what you would see with any group of mothers. Renata (the fabulous Laura Dern) is a successful businesswoman who feels guilty about not doing all of the things she sees the other mothers doing. While Madeline feels like no one takes her seriously. Plus she has to see her ex-husband every day with his new, cool, young wife (Zoe Kravitz). There are more serious issues of domestic abuse that are handled well.
It’s very bingeable, but sadly, you can’t binge it because it’s on HBO and you have to wait a week between episodes of the 7 episode series. I asked Witherspoon and Kidman if they were fans of the book and how they came to be the executive producers. Witherspoon said she was given the script and called Nicole who was in Australia at the time. She sat down to have coffee with Moriarty and asked her if they could have the rights to her book and Moriarty said yes. They said that the process was quick – from there to the production because they were working with busy moms and other women.
And If you’re a busy mom (and have HBO), I would definitely make time for Big Little Lies.