Big Little Lies Book to TV Adaptation – Episode 1

Book Synopsis:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest. And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. 

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. – GR

My book review here.

I read Big Little Lies before I realised it had been announced it was going to be made into a TV show. In fact, I didn’t find out until  I saw it advertised for episode two and I had somehow just missed it. Obviously, I jumped on it and watched the almost-hour long first episode.

What I was most interested in was the casting. Nicole Kidman plays the beautiful Celeste, Reese Witherspoon as Madeline, and Shailene Woodley as Jane. I was immediately sold on Kidman and Witherspoon because I adore them as actresses, but not so much with Woodley. Not that I don’t think she is talented enough (far from it), just that I thought I might not be able to get around the idea of her being a mother when I have only ever seen her play younger characters.


Yeah, I was sold in minutes. The trio are awesome, and so are the secondary characters we’ve been introduced to so far. The kids are also really good – loving Chloe’s sassy little character. There was a really touching scene between Abigail (Kathryn Newton) and Madeline too.

My only niggle so far is – and I don’t know if I’m just being nitpicky – with the script. Some points are really strong and natural, usually with Madeline complaining about something in her funny way, but a few times a character would say something that seems completely unnatural to say, like with Jane when she is talking to Celeste and Madeline at the cafe (no spoilers). It just seemed like a very personal, emotional thing to say to someone she had just met. There are more examples but that one sticks out.

I suppose it could just be introducing characters and their emotions right off the bat to hook people into the next episode, and will be better in the next. That’s what I’m hoping anyway because I can see myself really enjoying this!

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