10 August 2017

Review & Giveaway: Big Little Lies (HBO Limited Series)

Review of HBO's Big Little LiesI'm sure you've heard the buzz surrounding the star-studded HBO production of Liane Moriarty's best-selling novel Big Little Lies. If you haven't yet seen the show, I bet you've been chomping at the bit for the Blu-Ray/Digital HD edition. Well fret no more because the series is now available in both media.

I watched the show earlier this year when it first ran and again—thanks to HBO—via digital download. This is a series that's easy to watch more than once because not only is the plot great but the acting is amazing, with no weak links. I, of course, enjoyed watching the well-know adult actors (Reese Witherspoon, Alexander Skargard), but I have to say the children were simply fabulous and almost stole show!

I also was impressed with how closely the television version of Big Little Lies (written by David E. Kelley) followed the book. The only major difference is that the story was relocated from Australia to the United States. If you're a fan of the novel, you're sure to love the show.

For those unfamiliar with Big Little Lies, here is how the studio and publicist describe the series:

Starring Academy Award®–winning actresses Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, 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 facade of marriage, sex, parenting, and friendship. The cast also includes Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skargard, Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz, and Laura Dern.

Big Little Lies is based in the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, where 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 (Witherspoon), Celeste (Kidman) and Jane (Woodley)—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.
Review of HBO's Big Little LiesFilmed on location in California and directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, the series brilliantly brings Moriarty's book to life, capturing the many layers of the story, which is a little bit mystery (opening with what seems to be a crime scene and then police interrogation) and a whole lot of what goes on behind the scenes of any relationship.

Besides the critically acclaimed acting, directing, and writing, Big Little Lies was beautiful to look at, especially the dramatic Monterey coastline, the fabulous clothing, and the gorgeous beach-side houses. The filming, including the angles, the lighting, and the good use of close-ups, added to the visual treat. No wonder the series was nominated for numerous awards.

Finally, no review or write-up of Big Little Lies can end without mentioning the incredible soundtrack. The songs perfectly match the action and plot and include a huge range of popular music: Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Fleetwood Mac, the B-52s, Martha Wainwright, Michael Kiwanuka, and so many more. The surprise queen of the jams in Big Little Lies is Madeline's young daughter Chloe (played by Darby Camp and seen at the left in the screen shot above). I want her iPod!

The bonus materials on the Blu-Ray/Digital edition include all of HBO's "Inside the Episode" segments for the series. These short videos parse the plot, provide information about the filming, and reveal the director's and writer's intentions. In addition, there's an exclusive short film about the making of the series, including actor interviews and some behind-the-scenes shots.

Take a look at the trailer:

If that doesn't grab your attention, here's a scene from the first episode:

Oh yeah, we already have ideas of what these women might be all about.

The Giveaway Thanks to the nice people at HBO I'm able to offer one of my readers a copy of the Blu-Ray/Digital HD edition of HBO's Big Little Lies and a copy of Liane Moriarty's book (series tie-in edition). All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner via a random number generator on August 21. Once the winner has been confirmed and his or her address is passed along to the publicist, who will mail out the disk and book, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck.


Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 8/10/17, 7:33 AM  

I loved the series, but hated the book! Odd, right?! The inane mommy politics drove me crazy in the book, but I felt like the series took a darker turn and delved more into the parents personal issues, which I loved.

Sarah 8/10/17, 9:01 AM  

This is an awesome giveaway, Beth!! Wow. Thanks to you and HBO for offering it.

sherry fundin 8/10/17, 10:29 AM  

I haven't seen the series or read the book. Great giveaway.
sherry @ fundinmental

Susie | Novel Visits 8/10/17, 11:57 AM  

I loved the book and was pleased that the series followed it so closely. At first I was miffed by the change of setting, but in the end, it really made no difference. Have you seen that Reese Witherspoon acquired the film rights to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine? I'm excited to see what she'll do with it!

Karen B 8/10/17, 2:20 PM  

Haven't seen or read so - WOW!!!

Bernie Wallace 8/10/17, 7:16 PM  

Thanks for the giveaway. I really wanted to watch this series. Bernie W BWallace1980(At)hotmail(d0t)com

Greg 8/11/17, 12:24 AM  

I loved the book and the show, and appreciated how closely the show hewed to the book. The music, the scenery- even though I wasn't sure initially how I'd feel relocating the story from Australia, it worked out fine. and the casting was fabulous. I should get this on DVD actually.

Karen White 8/11/17, 10:54 AM  

I devoured both the book and the series! I agree that the acting was wonderful - felt like these actresses spurred each other on to great heights. Kudos to Reese Witherspoon for finding such great roles for women.

Unknown 8/17/17, 5:19 AM  

Thanks to you and HBO for offering it.


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