Small town, massive drama: HBO’s Big Little Lies is now on Showmax

12 September 2017

Small town, massive drama: HBO’s Big Little Lies is now on Showmax

For any on us, keeping secrets in our personal lives can be difficult. Now imagine you’re living in a tiny coastal town where you see the same people at work, then again when you drop off your kids at school in the morning, when you go to lunch and even at dinner parties. The same group of people are in that little circle and it’s a super-tight bond … whether you like it or not. In seven-episode thriller Big Little Lies (2017 – all seven episodes are now on Showmax) it’s that closeness that’s an issue because those dirty little secrets are coming tumbling out the closet. Watch now »

Based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, the dark comedy starts off in a police interrogation room. Strange place for a show about upper-middle-class mothers, right? Not when everything is revolving around a murder that has shocked the town and its residents. At the outset, viewers not only don’t know who the main suspect is – they don’t even know who the victim is.

At the core of Big Little Lies is a group of women who’re sticking together. Lead actress Reese Witherspoon told Vogue magazine that “this was a really unique opportunity to bring together five really talented, diverse women onscreen. That is something that doesn’t happen that often.”

And it doesn’t hurt that the book and characters are so well developed either. “The book was really well plotted,” adds Reese, who plays the role of busybody mom Madeline. “These are dynamic women who are very truthful in their struggles.”

Here’s a quick look at the women of Big Little Lies, their struggles and how they’re linked to each other…

Bonnie Carlson (Zoe Kravitz)

Big Little Lies on Showmax

Image: HBO

Who: The yoga instructor is married to Madeline’s ex-hubby Nathan (James Tupper), which makes her stepmom to Madeline’s two daughters – smart-mouthed young Chloe (Darby Camp) and stroppy teen Abigail (Kathryn Newton).

Her problem: Bonnie oversteps the mark playing mom to her stepdaughters and that irks Madeline, who despises Bonnie for “stealing” Nathan from her. Plus, Madeline doesn’t “get” Bonnie’s Bohemian “love everything and it will love you back” lifestyle.

Her enemies: Madeline, duh.

Is she the killer? Probably not. After all, she preaches love and acceptance…

Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman)

Big Little Lies on Showmax

Image: HBO

Who: The troubled housewife and her husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) are extravagantly affectionate in public, but under the surface they have a seriously creepy sex life. Perry is controlling and abusive, and often out of town on business. It’s so hectic that they’re in marriage counselling. Not that Celeste’s friends have any idea – Perry never leaves a visible mark on his wife’s body, and they’re so into PDA no one would ever guess their marriage wasn’t perfect.

The problem: She’s forced to suffer in silence. Celeste can’t tell anyone because she’ll become the town’s hottest piece of gossip if anyone found out that her perfect family is less than perfect.

Her enemies: Well, Perry for starters. But she loves him and they’re trying to work things out.

Is she the killer? Entirely possible. When you’re backed into a corner, there’s only one thing to do: fight your way out.

Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley)

Big Little Lies on Showmax

Image: HBO

Who: The single-mom is the town newcomer and while she’s tried to leave her past behind, it’s followed her to the small town. She immediately makes an enemy in school mom Renata (Laura Dern) when her son Ziggy (Iain Armitage) is accused of physically assaulting Renata’s daughter Amabella (Ivy George) on their first day of first grade.

The problem: For one thing, Jane doesn’t fit in with the wealthy mothers in Monterey at all – she doesn’t have the perfect hair or make-up or clothes or mansion. Renata even mistakes her for a nanny when she comes to pick her son Ziggy up from school on the first day. And it slowly becomes clear that Jane is hiding something traumatic from her past. Could it have something to do with Ziggy’s outbursts and aggressive behaviour? After all, you can’t make a baby on your own…

Her enemies: Renata, from the start – they hate each other because of their kids and neither is willing to let bygones be bygones.

Is she the killer? Jane does have a gun and she is running from a secret. But does that automatically make her capable of murder?

Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon)

Big Little Lies on Showmax

Image: HBO

Who: The town busybody likes to know everyone’s business and she’s not afraid to put everyone in their places – especially Bonnie for, well, stealing her family, and Renata for publicly admonishing Jane and starting a feud.

The problem: Madeline isn’t that innocent though – she cheated on her hubby Ed (Adam Scott) with married theatre boss Joseph Bachman (Santiago Cabrera). Plus, she tries to play peacekeeper between the moms and doesn’t always make the right choices.

Her enemies: Bonnie and Renata. Straight up, no lies – they’re not on the same page.

Is she the killer? Madeline would be the most unlikely of the lot, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t capable of doing it.

Renata Klein (Laura Dern)

Big Little Lies on Showmax

Image: HBO

Who: The snob of the wife group looks down on everyone else (mostly because she feels the stay-at-home moms judge her for her career success), pretending that her life is perfect and that her daughter is the sweetest angel.

The problem: Renata’s life isn’t nearly perfect – there are cracks everywhere and she’s a psychotic wreck. She also has a mean streak that would make Celeste’s hubby Perry cower.

Her enemies: Madeline and Jane. And Jane’s son Ziggy.

Is she the killer? Possibly – she has that horrible mean side and she can be vicious…

Watch Big Little Lies on Showmax to find out who the victim is, and who killed them, and then decide: whose side would you be on in the deadly feud between these wealthy, troubled mothers?

Cover image: HBO

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