Advance Screening Recap of HBO's Big Little Lies - #BigLittleLies

We are excited to talk about the new HBO show BIG LITTLE LIES. We recently attended a pre-screening event, where we were able to preview the first 2 shows, chat with Kathryn Newton and have some delicious treats afterwards. 

In the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, nothing is quite as it seems. Doting moms, successful husbands, adorable children, beautiful homes: What lies will be told to keep their perfect worlds from unraveling? Told through the eyes of three mothers – Madeline, Celeste and Jane – BIG LITTLE LIES paints a picture of a town fueled by rumors and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors. Based on the New York Times number-one bestseller of the same name by Liane Moriarty, BIG LITTLE LIES is a subversive, darkly comedic drama that weaves a tale of murder and mischief as it explores society’s myth of perfection and the contradictions that exist beneath our idealized façade of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship. The seven-episode limited drama series debuts SUNDAY, FEB. 19 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Kathryn Newton biography:
With two Young Artist Awards and further recognition of a talent which can effortlessly shift between comedic and dramatic roles – not to mention from the soundstage to the golf course – 19-year-old actress Kathryn Newton continues to ascend on the leaderboard.

In the wake of her recurring role as Claire Novak on the long-running CW series “Supernatural,” Newton returns to episodic television in the new HBO series “Big Little Lies,” which premieres February 19. Adapted by David E. Kelley and Liane Moriarty based on her #1 New York Times bestselling novel of the same name, the comedy crime drama boasts an all-star cast in weaving the tale of three mothers – Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Jane (Shailene Woodley) – whose supposedly perfect lives are interrupted when a murder occurs. Kathryn Newton plays Abigail, the older daughter of Witherspoon’s Madeline Mackenzie.

On the big screen Newton will be seen in two films with Lucas Hedges (Manchester By the Sea), the forthcoming independent film comedy Lady Bird and the crime drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Newton may be best-known for starring in Paranormal Activity 4 as Alex Nelson, a young teen who documents the supernatural occurrences that happen when a mysterious family moves into the neighborhood. For her work in the blockbuster horror film, she won a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress.

Previous credits for Newton include Disney Channel’s “Dog with a Blog,” AMC’s “Mad Men,” and CBS’s “Bad Teacher” and “Gary Unmarried,” for which she won a Young Artist Award for her role as daughter Louise Brooks. Born in South Florida, Newton began her acting career at the age of four, appearing on the venerable daytime show “All My Children” from 2001-2004.

A diehard fashionista with an extensive collection of vintage designer items, Newton is also an avid golfer (she admits, “I don’t know whether to call myself a golfer who acts or an actor who plays golf!”). Last year she did a video series for Golf Digest, which recognized her as “The Best Golfer in Hollywood.” Having helped her Southern California high school golf team win three league championships, Newton hopes to launch her own tournament where adults and child players pair to raise money to encourage more young people to get into the game.

Our recap:

Big Little Lies premieres on HBO on Sunday February 19, 2017 and it is sure to garner plenty of attention. Based on a best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty and starring Hollywood heavyweights, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern the show while not revolutionary, is well executed and deliciously mischievous.

At the heart of the story is Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Witherspoon). She knows how things should be and is willing to do what it takes to make things work out that way. She wants fairness and justice and meddles with the school and manipulates peoples’ perspectives to get things the way that she thinks they should be. Her best friend, Celeste (Nicole Kidman), lives like a Greek goddess in a mansion on the water with two perfect boys and a Ken doll husband. She is ever present but coolly disengaged. Jane (Shailene Woodley) moves to town and unlike the other “dress for success,” glamour haired moms, she seeks comfort with baggy clothes, short hair tied back and no trace of make-up. She’s a single mom and lives for her son, Ziggy.

This ill-fitted group of heroines, while they consider each other best friends, in many ways barely know each other. In fact, although theirs is a community where people are constantly digging into other’s business and judging, no one seems to know much about anyone’s actual lives. One of these women is emotionally distant to her husband, one is haunted by a recurring vision and one is engaged in a violent, dangerous game of sex and co-dependence with her husband.

Madeline pits people against each other for sport. Working moms v. stay at home moms; her ex-husband against her current husband; even her teen daughter against herself. She thrives on the diversion of minutiae and in so doing is blind to bigger issues around her. When the moms arrive at school to pick up their children after the first day of first grade, Ziggy is accused of hurting Super Mom Renata’s daughter. Renata (Laura Dern) is a high-power executive with PayPal and Madeline’s nemesis. Ziggy claims innocence and Jane assures that her son isn’t a liar. Thus, begins a he-said-she-said kerfuffle that ripples into much larger issues.

Set in Monterrey, California, the episodes are crisp and visually stunning with breathtaking homes and settings. Even Jane’s stark home is enviably cozy and the quick peeks of a bigger crime lurking behind the story tugs at the viewer whenever you forget that it’s coming

Director Jean-Marc Vallee swirls between clips of the community talking to police at depositions and a traditional unwinding narrative that affectively floats viewers along with the story, helping us understand the myriad perspectives that can make simple confrontations become holy wars.

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