March 19, 2020 at 10:17 am #1203387014
This is brillant, and Reese and Kerry’s performances are aces. I think this might be Witherspoon’s career-best work. They should both be high on the predictions for lead actress.March 19, 2020 at 10:54 am #1203387068
Watched the first two episodes, agree with what everyone’s been saying. I think Washington and Witherspoon’s performances are inevitably going to be compared to their major recent performances (BLL and Scandal) and I think Washington will benefit more from that comparison. There is not a shred of Olivia Pope in this role and she’s really really good, might be my preferred out of the two. I completely agree that the character of Elena is very different from Madeline on BLL, but you can’t deny the surface similarities, and while I don’t think this is a worse performance by any means, it’s certainly a less exciting one. Reese on BLL was a ball of angry energy powering through every interaction, whereas Elena is much more repressed and buttoned up, so it’s just inherently going to lead to less fireworks.
Also want to quickly shout out Lexi Underwood as Pearl, who I think is giving a great performance and goes toe to toe with Washington in all their scenes, which is not an easy feet. If anyone’s going to make a supporting actress play I think it should be her (although honestly I think you could make the argument she’s almost as much of a lead as Washington and Witherspoon).March 19, 2020 at 11:08 am #1203387084
Just finished watching the first three episodes, and I feel like the story has just started. It looks like things will be heating up soon. From the cast, Kerry Washington was definitely the standout, but Witherspoon’s couch scene was marvelous. In terms of Emmy chances I don’t think it can get in for series, but either Witherspoon or Washington will get in. I don’t feel like both of them will get in so I’ll be rooting for Washington. The way she smiles and looks at people was perfectly matching with her character’s mysterious past.March 19, 2020 at 2:15 pm #1203387410
I just finished the first three episodes and I’m obsessed. Witherspoon dives into this role head first and is Elena to a tee, as someone’s who’s read the book. It’s such a nuanced performance. One minute her actions are deplorable and the next minute you see a different side of her, whether it’s through a simple gesture or look or monologue (end of episode 2), and you’re not sure if you love this women or if she’s evil. Kudos to Witherspoon. Washington is at her best when she’s on screen with Witherspoon. I’ve never been a big fan but she’s good here. No shade though, but why does she act with her teeth so much lol?
Anyway, the teen cast is pretty great, as well, especially the young actress who plays Izzy. She’s subtlety heartbreaking. I was so moved. And the actress who plays Lexi is a mini Witherspoon, it’s amazing.
I wish they put the whole season out at once.March 19, 2020 at 4:03 pm #1203387543
It’s excellent. I’m really loving it and wishing Hulu decide to just drop the whole series.
It’s interesting you find Elena deplorable in certain moments. Aside from calling the police on Mia, which was infuriating, I find her to be a well meaning woman who is just blissfully unaware of her ignorance and privellige. She means well but can’t help mentioning race and how accepting she is in the presence of Mia and Pearl. She is totally tone deaf in these moments and is alienating the people she wants to establish a connection with, but I don’t villainise her for it.
I’m not saying you are at all, but the reviews for LFE painted it as though we are always on Mia’s side and that Elena is the clear villain of the story. Maybe it will become that as we progress, but so far, they’ve done an excellent job of establishing enough of Mia’s sketchiness so that it raises suspicion in Elena and they’ve highlighted Elena’s white saviour mentality so that we understand why Mia isn’t as friendly and thankful as Elena wants her to be.
Mia understands by staying in Elena’s complex and working for her that she is only fulfilling Elena’s self reflection as being such a loving, helpful person. And we can see she understandably hates that, yet at the same time, she goes out of her way to be rude to her. Continually. From Elena’s perspective, it’s easy to see why she did the background check on Mia- why wouldn’t she when the woman she offered discounted rent and employment to can’t be pleasant in return? It’s such a rich dynamic because in a sense, both of them are vilified.
I think the relationship between the two woman is far richer and more layered than the reviews led me to believe it would be. Mia is not a victim and Elena is not some manipulative monster. They’re telling the story of a black woman who won’t allow herself to fit the narrative of a rich white woman who thinks she is being helpful- and IS being helpful.
And Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are FANTASTIC.March 19, 2020 at 5:20 pm #1203387614
Up to Episode 3 and it’s another A-grade from me, which shouldn’t really shock me as it was written by Raamla Mohamed who wrote one of my favourite TV episodes ever on Scandal. The show’s just so fiercely entertaining. Initially, I was apprehensive when it became apparent that the episode would focus more on each of the kids but every storyline was treated with such a lovely care whilst distinctly highlighting it as teen dramatics. This served as a fantastic contrast to the true stakes in the adult storyline.
I also now finally feel comfortable in predicting Washington ahead of Witherspoon for the nomination. I had been doing so based on the reviews but I was initially so struck by both performances that I couldn’t see how one could be selected and not the other. I am seeing it now as Washington is starting to make anyone else on screen pale in comparison without even saying a word. Remarkable given how she was known for the exact opposite style on Scandal.March 22, 2020 at 11:09 pm #1203390786
Just finished the first three episodes! Loving it. Super entertaining and has some surprisingly AWESOME writing. The couch scene with the seeds was SO good. With shows like this, the writing is usually the weakest point, but these scripts are very strong. This will definitely end up in my personal lineup for limited writing (and if the season is still this strong, could be competitive for the win). Witherspoon is very very good, but Washington has the better role and knocks every scene out of the park. The dynamic between the two is fantastic. As a fan of the book, I never found the kids quite as interesting, but the writers have done a very good job beefing up their storylines and expanding on each character. The Izzy lesbian plot in particular is going in a great direction. All the kid actors are great, and Lexi Underwood is a real standout. It’s absolutely INSANE how much the Richardson daughters look like Witherspoon. I’m really liking this so far, and I hope both Washington and Witherspoon can pick up awards traction.
On the topic of the Emmys, I worry that Witherspoon and Washington being in the same category could hurt both of their chances. However, they really are co-leads, so Hulu is making the right choice. But I wouldn’t opposed to one or the other frauding into supporting as long as it means that they can both be nominees, and I honestly believe that whoever ran supporting would have a REALLY good chance at a win.
And that opening title sequence is AWESOME. Fingers crossed it wins the Emmy!March 23, 2020 at 5:14 am #1203390920
This is a cheap version of Big Little Lies. Both lead actresses are decent, Witherspoon’s co-star yet again gets the meaty material, although I personally don’t like Washington’s acting style in this. This will only be a player in the Lead Actress category and it probably not be that strong there either. In other words, a non-factor for this year’s Emmys.
The comparisons to Big Little Lies are so lazy and tired. The only similarity the two shows have is Witherspoon’s character, and even then Elena is vastly different than Madeline in many ways.March 23, 2020 at 6:20 am #1203390997
So a rich woman’s life is shaken to the core by a mysterious single woman’s arrival with her child is not a similarity to you? Or the show being another housewife soap about secrets and family issues.. It’s mediocre at best. And the baby storyline is so random. Ik it’s exactly the book’s plot, but this adaptation isn’t doing it for me. As I said, it’s not going anywhere near the Emmys except for the 2 lead actresses who are only going to be considered because they’re household names.
Secrets and family isssues? Because those themes are only found in BLL and LFE lol. The dynamic between Elena and Mia is 100% different than the dynamic between Madeline and Jane. For one, Elena and Mia are not friends. Second, race is a huge theme in LFE. Third – the obvious – BLL revolves around a murder lmao. The only glaring similarities between the two shows is Witherspoon’s involvement, the soapy tone and the fact that some of the characters are rich.March 23, 2020 at 6:21 am #1203391009
So a rich woman’s life is shaken to the core by a mysterious single woman’s arrival with her child
This is just not the story of Big Little Lies though.March 23, 2020 at 7:39 am #1203391106
Reese is such a prolific producer. Why is she typecasting herself??? This role is too similar with what she’s been doing the past few years on BLL and Morning Show.March 23, 2020 at 8:03 am #1203391131
As said by others before me, besides that both series are produced by and star Reese Witherspoon this is nothing like Big Little Lies. And how is Elena similar to Bradley Jackson from The Morning Show? They couldn’t be more different.
Elena first appears to be similar to Madeline, but that’s not the case either. Madeline is geniuine, a true great friend and she is more messy than Elena. All the actions of the latter are questionable, you never know when she is fake or not. She is manipulative and calculative. Besides the fact that they are both housewives and played by a blonde Reese Witherspoon, they are also very different.
Having said that, the first 3 episodes were great. Nothing truly original or “must see tv” but it’s intriguing. It has the potential of having a pretty great climax.
Regarding who is better between Witherspoon or Washington, I think both play their character really well, and there is not really a standout to me so far.March 23, 2020 at 8:57 am #1203391205
This could easily be a season of Big Little Lies if it were an anthology series. Also, Reese Witherspoon’s character is highly reminiscent of Madeline at least so far.March 23, 2020 at 9:35 am #1203391305
I have already expressed my opinion on the blatantly obvious differences between Madeline and Elena but I’ll just add that even if you think the characters are the same as written, Witherspoon is clearly not playing them the same. Take a look at Madeline’s posture and use of gesture in any scene from Big Little Lies and then compare it to Little Fires Everywhere. They are so specifically defined.
I have to say I pity Witherspoon I really do because she makes such brilliantly subtle choices to uniquely identify every character she plays and then the way she is rewarded is people saying she’s playing the same part because they’re too lazy to actually watch her. And of course the one time she did choose to be brash in her choices (The Morning Show) she’s criticised for hamming it up too much. Girl can’t win.March 23, 2020 at 5:15 pm #1203391996
I’ve been seeing that a lot recently in relation to Witherspoon’s work. She’s a self professed Type A and named her first production company that, and I wonder if that lends itself to people pigeonholing or undermining what she does.
Madeline and Elena are both Type A’s, so it’s easy for a critic to lazily checkmark that as her playing to her strengths- regardless of the fact that both characters speak differently, gesture differently, carry themselves differently and couldn’t be more opposite. Their similarities are that they are blonde, wealthy mothers being played by the same actor.
If there is anybody who has ever doubted Witherspoon’s deserved reputation as one of the great actors, they’ve never seen Freeway. Vanessa is a character so awful, unstable, hilarious, sympathetic and realistic that it will always be one of my favourite performances ever. Witherspoon played her so early in her career and it somehow didn’t land her Oscar attention.
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