film review

Perfect Life is Perfect Lie [“Big Little Lies” review]

20th of May, 2017

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Life of parents is not as easy as it sounds. Especially when it’s about the race of rats between them about who has smarter kid. And it’s even harder when, during this race, there is a murder involved. Who is killed? How did it happen? Is everybody lying over and over? And most importantly – who’s the killer?

New mini TV series made by HBO, written by David E. Kelley and directed by amazing Jean-Marc Vallée surprises the viewers from the very beginning. That’s not weird, because the book which inspired the production is written the same way. We get the history of three friends – Madeline, Celeste and Jane along with their problems and struggles of the daily life. In the same time, we listen to testimony of the witnesses of the murder (murder happened on the integration evening, by the way). The past is mixing with the present, but don’t worry, you’ll not get lost. In contrary, actually. You will not want to stop watching it.

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Madeline Mackenzie is the bravest one. She will not pause to tell someone the truth. She gossips too, but somehow the viewers love her. In the same time, Madeline is extremely loyal to her two friends. There is neither jelousy nor rivalry betweem them three. They don’t fight over kids or husbands. In my opinion, Madeline is the portrayal of a little crazy, but very good female friend. As the culture, especially film and TV production suffer from lack of the true portrayals of female friendships, Big Little Lies will show amazing feminine bond. Madeline has two kids – Chloe and Abigail from the first marriage. Woman struggles with the hate towards new wife of her ex husband Nathan and the rebellion from her daughter. Episode after episode the viewers see how complex her character is. I think this is definitely merit of amazing Reese Whiterspoon who played her role.

Celeste is the quietest one.  She’s very beautiful, calm woman with two twins and loving husband everybody envies her. The viewer finds out she finished law studies, but she abandoned the career to have children. Her husband, Perry, supports the family. Wrigths are very rich, but hold very dark secret deep in the shades of their luxurious life. Perry abuses Celeste and she is very recluctant about leaving him. As an excuse, she picks raising twins, Max and Josh. Celeste doesn’t share the secret with her friends, because she doesn’t want them to know about that. Nicole Kidman, who played Celeste, was incroyable in the role and very authentic.

Jane is the mysterious one. No one knows where did she come from. Single mother with a son, Ziggy, moves to Monterey to sign him up to the school where all the kids go along with Madeline’s and Celeste’s. Jane is very young and extremely mysterous. She’s different from other mothers, too. She doesn’t care about beautiful clothes or newest gadgets. Madeline and Celeste take her under care, try to introduce to everyone. Jane slowly opens up to them and soon, they find out about horrible thing that happend in her past. She was raped. Shailene Woodley, known from The Fault in Our Stars was the perfect choice for Jane’s character.

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Everything happens quickly after the meeting at school. Amabella, daugher of very succesful Renata Klein (amazing Laura Dern) accuses Ziggy of choking her. In fact, she does have marks on the neck. Nothing is the same after. It’s as if young boy had been marked and no one can play with him anymore. But the true fight is not amongst children, it’s amongst parents. Madeline, trying to protect Jane, manifestly opens up the fire. The fight affects children who don’t even remember about previous events. But hurting young Amabella keeps happening. Ziggy seems to know who is that, but he doesn’t want to say. When all three fight with Renata and her supporters, all of them has their own stuff to solve. Madeline tries to reconcile with Abigail’s moving out to her father, Celeste fights with her husband who abuses her and Jane helps Ziggy in the same time trying to help herself with the past.

The viewers know from the beginning that someone has been killed. Creators show them the path leading to murder. Events are escalating episode by episode. Every next one is more intense and brutal. Jean-Marc Vallée showed the whole palette of characters’ feelings by proximity scenes and scenes of details. The huge part plays the ocean too – at its example, we can see how human’s personality works: sometimes it’s calmed as smooth waves, but next it can be very dangerous, very brutal as abusive partner. The director was the jackpot. Beautiful scenes composed with wisely selected music (e.g. Elvis Presley, Michael Kiwanuka, Jeffersons Airplane etc.) created brave, sometimes sad portrayal of modern parents, but also murder, abusive relationships, lies. And gossips.

Jackie: Not that there’s a right little girl to strangle, but [Ziggy] picked the wrong little girl to strangle.

Harper: Jane just didn’t fit here, kind of like a dirty old Prius parked outside of Barney’s.

Dr. Chang: There was a 4×3 full thickness scalp laceration located on the superior occipital portion of the scalp. We also discovered a full thickness scalp contusion and associated subgaleal hemorrhages and a putrified and liquified brain.
Stu: So it was a lot of blood.

Madeline: To be accused of something so horrible on your very first day at a new school. Can you imagine anything worse?

On the Big Little Lies we can see that gossips are not only teenagers’ thing to do. It’s getting worse with age. TV series presents how lies work. Everybody tries to create perfect life, in the same time talking about other known people, very often in a negative way. After a time, they start to believe in their own lies. And it’s dangerous.

Except mentioned trio plus amazing Laura Dern, fans can also see Zoë Kravitz as Bonnie, Alexander Skarsgård as Perry , James Tupper as Nathan, Adam Scott as Ed etc. As we can see, the cast was very wisely selected. And well, they were completely right to choose such talented actors. They made characters even more complex.

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The most amazing and shocking scene of Big Little Lies when Jane looks into her past’s eyes and Madeline slowly realizes what is going on… 

The last episode of Big Little Lies left me with cover of You Can’t Always Get What You Want  and mouth agape. I had million questions and even mote thoughts in my head. Is it really how adulthood looks like? Like mother/fatherhood is? Is really everybody lying, trying to create a fake life? Who do I truly know in my life?

One is sure. Big Little Lies and the cast deserves every applause. I did not expect such a good show (I guess blame the title), but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s only eight episodes, hopefully it will be more, but it leaves you with shock. I highly recommend.

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DNA doesn’t make a family. Love does. -“The Fosters” review

Oh, hello!

Today I finally got myself together and I decided to write review about amazing Freeform tv show, called “The Fosters”. I am freshly after S4E1 and I’m thrilled! But for now, no spoilers!

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From the left: Cierra Ramirez, Noah Centineo, Sherri Saum, Teri Polo, Maia Mitchell, David Lambert (top) and Hayden Byerly.

“The Fosters” is being created by Bredeweg and Peter Paige. Also, Jennifer Lopes (!!!) is producing the tv show. Production tells us a story of multiethnic, multicultural family. The family contains two moms – Stef (Terri Polo) and her wife Lena Adams Foster (Sherri Saum), one biological son, Brandon (David Lambert) and four adopted kids – siblings, Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Jude (Hayden Byerly) as well as  twins, Marianna (Cierra Ramires) together with Jesus (Noah Centineo).

I don’t want to focus on plot’s details, because I don’t want to spoil watching. TV show starts when Callie is taken from juvie by Lena. The girl had horrible childhood and after her mom’s death, she’s around foster families all the time, but she doesn’t stay in anyone for a long time. Lena is taking her to her own house. Being there, Callie meets Stef – Lena’s wife and other kids. – So you’re dykes? – she’s asking, after she figures there is no dad in Adams Foster family. – We prefer word human. – Marianna replies braverly.

Being in the family, Callie finds her place. After some time, Jude – her little brother, joins her. The boy was stucked in his foster family, where he was being hurt by his step father. Stefanie, who is a cop, rescues the boy. Jacobs siblings can finally have loving and caring family. – DNA doesn’t make a family. Love does. – Lena says to Callie after fight, when the girls thinks couple is gonna take her back.

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Interesting fact: At the first place, Jesus’ role was played by Jake T. Austin, but he left the show.

Callie and Jude starts being friends with other kids at home and soon, they are big family. All kids are attending to Anchor Beach school, where Lena is a vice principal. After being in amazing family, all they need is adoption paper, which is not gonna be so easy… But when someone loves the other, they can handle everything.

As in every family, there are some fights, bigger and smaller, little affairs and serious dramas. But don’t be affraid! It’s definitely not gonna be boring. In my opinion, “The Fosters” is the first tv show telling LGBT story, which is realistic. Family we see on the screen may really exist. There are no hyperboles, weird, fake characters and artificial situations. That’s why I think this tv show deserves to be watched.

While we’re watching family’s tradicions and smiles as they are together, we smile with them. We actually can feel the love, which proves amazing, stunning actors’ acting. All of them – Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, Hayden Byerly, David Lamber along with Noah Centineo, Cierra Ramirez and Maia Mitchell do excellent work on the set. There is no falsity. Actors go into the role and we can actually see each character’s personality.

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THE FOSTERS – “I Do” – Stef and Lena’s parents arrive amidst a frenzy of wedding-planning in “The Fosters”. (ABC FAMILY/Adam Taylor) SHERRI SAUM, TERI POLO 

I also have to mention others, second role’s actors – Danny Nucci (who plays cop, ex-husband of Stef and Brandon’s father), Alex Saxon (he plays kids’ friend), stunning Rosie O’Donell (as Callie’s curator and the owner of place Girls United) and Alexandra Barreto (Jesus and Marianna’s biological mother).

I’m glad that after “The L Word”, “Queer As Folk”, “Orange Is The New Black” etc. (and don’t get me wrong, mentioned tv shows are amazing!), they finally created something family-ish. “The Fosters” really can help younger people, families, kids to understand that love is just love. Same sex’ partners can raise children and they can do excellent work, while kids’ biological parents are not always so great.

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I’m hoping that one day, “The Fosters” will air in my national channels in my country, Poland. It would help so much, but well… Maybe one day. From me, “The Foster”s gets 9/10 points. And I’m waiting for more, because I’m wondering what’s gonna happen next. New episode called “Safe” (S4E2) is gonna air on Monday, on Freeform.

Zoshu