Ralph Potts reviews this HBO limited series drama that weaves a tale of murder, and mischief, as it explores society’s myth of perfection, and the contradictions that exist beneath our idealized facade of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: HBO – 2017
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Feature running time: 370 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1, Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard, Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz
Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallee
Written by: David Kelly, Liane Moriarty
Region Code: A
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Big Little Lies is based in the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, where nothing is quite as it seems. Doting moms, successful husbands, adorable children, beautiful homes: What lies will be told to keep their perfect worlds from unraveling? Told through the eyes of three mothers –Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Jane (Shailene Woodley) –Big Little Lies paints a picture of a town fueled by rumors and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors.
Based on co-writer Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name Big Little Lies is a seven-episode limited (or mini) series that explores themes of familial dysfunction, spousal abuse, bullying, infidelity, and rape. Focusing on three central characters the narrative paints in fine strokes as it expertly develops the interpersonal relationships of the three, while branching off into a series of well-crafted subplots that cohesively support the primary story. Beginning with the end, the layer peeling plot plays out over each one-hour episode, drawing closer to revealing not just the lingering questions of who is dead, but many of the rather more interesting questions raised along with it.
My wife read the book and felt that overall, the series did a great job of capturing the essence of its characters, foundational elements of mystery, and the complexities associated with relationships contained therein. I really enjoyed it, finding the performances of the ensemble cast and direction to be excellent. Big Little Lies is typical of the type of quality programming I have come to expect from HBO. I may very well sit down and watch it again.
Big Little Lies on Blu-ray includes all seven episodes from the limited series as well as six “Inside the Episode” pieces and an exclusive extended “About Big Little Lies” piece featuring never-before-seen cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
The rating is for violence, language, sexual content, nudity and strong thematic material.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Big Little Lies comes to Blu-ray Disc from HBO Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.
This 1.78:1 framed video presentation offers appreciable high definition resolution that has a satisfying glossy aesthetic. Images are stable and sharp with plenty of discernible texture and revealing fine detail during close-ups. Blacks are deep while exhibiting appreciable dynamic range with stable yet slightly elevated contrast that never infringes upon fidelity. Colors are snappy and bright and sullen and muted where appropriate. Fleshtones appear descriptive with variable depth that brings out the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features crystal clear dialog, robust dynamics and a subtle, yet enriching surround sound mix. I was pleased with its use of spatial dimension and directional cues to create an apropos and occasionally immersive sound field. This worked hand in hand with show’s music, and active sequences to build tension and drive its thematic elements. I thought it sounded quite good.
- About Big Little Lies – Behind-the-Scenes Look
- Inside the Episodes – Six segments
- Digital HD Copy
Based on Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel Big Little Lies is a compelling drama that explores society’s myth of perfection, and the contradictions that exist beneath our idealized facade of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship. It comes to Blu-ray from HBO Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video mated with a fair supplemental package that offers insights from the cast/crew. Big Little Lies is highly recommended for genre fans.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package