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Big Little Lies:

Breaking Waves
Big+Little+Lies%3A
Kaelin Brown

When waves break, do they always return to sea?
Not in Monterey Bay.

The TV show Big Little Lies, set in Monterey, California, follows 5 women as they navigate motherhood, and dark realities, like domestic abuse and sexual assault.

The series is centered around a crime – at least on the surface – someone was murdered at the local school’s Trivia Night, viewers don’t know who, how, or why. But really, at the core of Big Little Lies, is a story that discovers female friendship, rebellion, and solidarity. When a new mom, Jane (played by Shailene Woodley) moves to Monterey, she sticks out amongst the women around her. Jane is young and single — posing a threat to the status quo. The other moms; Madeline, Celeste, Bonnie, and Renata, are married, whether happily or unhappily, living lavishly in their seaside homes. But the hardships they face are universal.

The show is uniquely its own, backed by an expensive soundtrack. Songs by Fleetwood Mac, Leon Bridges, and Neil Young (amongst others) accompany the series, seamlessly weaving themselves into the lives of these women. The music is just as important to the show as the characters. Moody songs offer a stark contrast against the bright Monterey Bay backdrop. The dark themes are often accompanied by crashing waves and blue skies.

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Performances by Reese Witherspoon, Zoë Kravitz, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, and Laura Dern (The “Monterey 5”) are delivered with incredible authenticity and nuance. The women they play, at times, may seem superficial, but intimate moments reveal their humanity. When these women’s lives begin to unwind, like breaking waves, they find a new way forward, rather than returning back to sea.

The first two seasons of Big Little Lies can be streamed on Hulu and Max, and a third season is currently in the works.

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