Warning: This article contains discussion of domestic violence and sexual assault. It also contains spoilers.
So many novels are being made into television and films – including Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. There are significant changes between the novel and the HBO show, namely the former takes place in North Sydney and the other somewhere in California.
Monday aired the final episode of the miniseries, and up until this point, there were so many questions. Was Celeste (Nicole Kidman) going to leave her abusive husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard)? Was Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) going to open up to her husband Ed (Adam Scott) about her affair? Was she ever going to be nice to her husband’s new wife Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz)? Was Jane (Shailene Woodley) ever going to find her rapist? Was Renata (Laura Dern) ever going to find out who was hurting her daughter Amabella?
It all seems a little intense for a show that was supposed to be about mothers of first graders, but all these questions are answered in the final episode. Throughout the series, Renata has been adamant that Jane’s son, Ziggy, has been bullying her daughter. Jane, worried about the violent nature of Ziggy’s conception, wonders if it could be him. However, there is another extremely violent character in the show. Celeste’s husband, Perry, who continuously loses his temper and beats his wife.
In the final episode, Celeste makes a move to leave her husband, cementing her plans once Jane tells her it was one of her sons hurting Amabella. Celeste does not want her sons to become like their father, so she makes her plans. Except Perry finds out, confronting her at the primary school’s annual trivia night.
It must be said that all the women on Big Little Lies have their issues. Madeline is always struggling to be good. Celeste tries to keep up the perfect family image whilst being abused. Jane is trying to hold herself together. Renata is a working mother who over compensates. Bonnie’s peace and love persona sometimes stops her from making the correct decisions. These women have their issues with each other – Madeline and Renata have been feuding for years it appears. Madeline hates Bonnie for how kind she is. Celeste appears to have the perfect life Jane wanted.
However, when Perry finds out about Celeste’s plan and confronts her in front of Madeline, Jane and Renata – they don’t simply sit by the sidelines. For Jane, it’s personal. She’s finally face to face with her rapist. When all the other women realise what’s happening and who Perry is, they watch him lunge for Celeste. In turn, they all go after him.
They will not stand by and be silent while a women is being hurt so badly in front of them. They stand tall and fight back. This is when Bonnie comes to the rescue – screaming as she pushes an abuser down the stairs to his death. She’s so blinded by rage at another woman’s pain that she forgets who she is for a moment, becoming the protector they all need.
The five women then lie to the police, protecting each other until the end.
The thing is, there is a deeply feminist story behind these five women, who all deal with their shit in different ways. They may resent each other over the silly every day things, but when it comes down to it, they have each other’s backs. Without fail.
Sometimes there are more important things in life than petty squabbles.
While the women do get away with murder, which absolutely no one condones, they saved Celeste’s life. They gave Jane some justice. This is why Big Little Lies is worth a watch – as it brings different women together. It showcases how complex and unique women are, how different their histories are. It also talks about some topics that are sometimes a bit hard to discuss, like the shock from the first time Perry beats Celeste.
Good television is not hard to come by these days, but Big Little Lies is one of the best shows to be created in years. You should definitely check it out.