Saturday, October 21, 2017

Big Little Lies

Much bigger than the lies which we tell are the lies which we live. 

Big Little Lies is a stunner. It tears into - and through - gorgeous facades, perfect husbands, beautiful children, ideal housewives and an idyllic little town, to reveal what is virtually a secret-riddled sordid collection of mortals. Oh, ordinary lives, you know. 

Reese Witherspoon is Madeline, for whom everyone's business is her business, whose passion to do the right thing is only matched with her utter helplessness as to what to do with her rebellious cynical teenager daughter. Nicole Kidman is Celeste,  an ex-lawyer, with a beauty which could crack mirrors, and a young husband good enough to eat, struggling with her feelings to get back to work, but mangled up in the dark deep secret of her family life. And then, there is Shailene Woodley as Jane, the single mother who has drifted into town, whose past has a haunting  pain and whose six-year old son, in no time,  is accused of being a bully. 

And into this volatile mix are an ex-husband, a  gay cafe owner, a gorgeously talented new-age wife, a mother of a bullied little girl and a successful business owner who is the cynosure of a myriad jealous eyes, a theatre director whose puppet show has puppets making love, and a school teacher who is struggling to do the right thing with children who want to do what they want. 

The trouble with perfection in life is that life itself is a messy bitch. When everything is going right, you have a fight with a spouse and meet a soulmate, when your career is soaring you have a child who thinks virginity is a commodity, when you have a husband who is the finest dad you can think of to your children he turns out to be a clinging jealous monster.

The very word perfection is a facade. And it's desire or very existence is antithesis to the nature of relationships. 

The intricate geometry of ties and circumstances in Big Little Lies is laid on the spine of a murder - who's or why is revealed only in the end. But the menace in the ordinary, the growing politics in school happenstance, the chasms between the closest, as incident upon incident piles on, always predicates something which can't end well. And it doesn't. 

Reese Witherspoon is at the heart of the film. Shailene provides its strange mystery. But it is Nicole Kidman, with her cool allure and her slow decomposition and breakdown who cuts the soul apart. Her sessions with the therapist, with or without her husband, are an insidious and incredible testament to our self-denials, our refusal to let ourselves reconcile with the muck inside our lives, in spite of the fact that it might be destroying us. 

Beneath all the drama of a story which Big Little Lies brings, are the startling and undeniable truths of married - and so-called ordinary - lives. We present our ideal sides but inside we foster ugly truths, until we ourselves forget where our reality ends and fiction starts. It is in the nature of our being - and the half-lives we live.

The bliss of a complete life can only happen in half-measures in the form of a life well lived, through acceptances, giving (& getting) spaces and proactive action. Life always comes around and catches us with our pants down when we least expect it. We have to face our truths at some point or the other, however much we may run away from them. Karma finds its balance by confronting us, or confronting all that we hold dear, with our misdeeds and alienations. There is no right way for life or living. But the search for truths about ourselves might be a good place to start. Alas, that is never a given. 

No comments: