IT’S A WONDERFUL LIE.
A star-studded miniseries that takes us to an affluent Monterey community and primarily its women. At first, we in the audience learn that police are investigating a murder but the victim remains a secret to us until the last episode. What plays out before that is a stylishly directed soap opera that takes beautiful advantage of its locations, but also addresses parenting and domestic violence in arresting ways. Part mystery, part social satire, the story starts out by entertaining us with clashes between the women but ultimately celebrates their enduring bond. Very strong performances by Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.
2017-U.S. Made for TV. 354 min. Color. Produced by Barbara A. Hall. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. Teleplay: David E. Kelley. Novel: Liane Moriarty. Cinematography: Yves Bélanger. Cast: Reese Witherspoon (Madeline Mackenzie), Nicole Kidman (Celeste Wright), Shailene Woodley (Jane Chapman), Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, Zoë Kravitz… Laura Dern.
Trivia: Originally shown in seven episodes.
Golden Globes: Best Limited Series or TV Movie, Actress (Kidman), Supporting Actor (Skarsgård), Supporting Actress (Dern). Emmys: Outstanding Limited Series; Directing; Actress (Kidman), Supporting Actor (Skarsgård), Supporting Actress (Dern).
Last word: “I had to say to Alex [Skarsgård], ‘Don’t be frightened just to go for it with me, because this is so important that you see that there’s a reality to it.’ It was strange. It was some of the strangest stuff I’d ever done. [Laughs] It was very exposing. I felt unbelievably vulnerable, and at times humiliated, and at times just deeply exposed. And I don’t mean physically. I mean just emotionally, and the rawness of it. There was a point in the final episode where I’m on the floor, and I just couldn’t get off the floor. I was just bare. And I remember Jean-Marc putting a towel over me in between takes, and I didn’t even notice. I just laid there. And then I thought, ‘God, I’m sort of half losing my mind here.'” (Kidman on the abuse scenes, TV Line)