Little Fires Everywhere Review


By: Amanda Guarragi 

Little Fires Everywhere is a Hulu Original series, that is adapted from Celeste Ng’s novel. The series explores the residence living in Shaker Heights, specifically the picture-perfect Richardson family but when a mother and daughter, move into their rental home nearby, things take a dramatic turn. It has a very strong narrative structure, it is well written and shows the complexities of each character extremely well. The show tackles racial discrimination, microaggressions, the meaning of motherhood and a woman’s right to choose.

We first meet Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) who is standing on the sidewalk, staring at her mansion, burning to the ground. We can understand that something has gone horribly wrong and someone else has set her home ablaze. The opening title sequence is stunning as well, showing plenty of important objects and pieces that symbolize how materialistic the residence in Shaker Heights can be. The opening sequence, to any show, is the tipping point because it gives so much away and no one even realizes it, that’s why it is one of my favourite aspects in a series.

Elena had a perfect home, a perfect family, a picture-perfect life but she was unhappy with herself. She has always been confused about what she wanted. Did she want to have a career or did she want to have four children? Naturally people would say, that she could have both and live that picture-perfect life but it is unrealistic. No one’s life is perfect because people are not perfect. Elena wanted to have a family and have a career, but the more children she had, the more she resented the fact, that her journalism career was dwindling. This was such a perfect role for Reese Witherspoon because she plays the privileged, broken woman so well.

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Courtesy of Simpson Street & Hello Sunshine 

The idea of perfection is what causes the most harm in anyone’s life. The pressure to be perfect and to always make the right choices is exhausting. Everyone doubts themselves and if they made the right choices in their lives. At the end of the day, we never really know until ten years later, when you realize how much time has passed and you reflect on your life. This is the case with Mia (Kerry Washington) and Pearl Warren (Lexi Underwood) who have been relocating, their entire lives because Mia is an artist, with a very dark past.

Mia first meets Elena when she takes a look at her rental home, which is down the street from the Richardson house. When Elena speaks to Mia, she is very passive and delivers lines with a discriminatory undertone. Elena reeks of white privilege and Mia is very transparent, when having discussions with her. The racial issues, are not only discussed throughout the series, but they are planted in the very passive dialogue, from white characters and it shows the microaggressions quite effectively. It is all about the way things were said to Mia and to Pearl, it is almost hard to stomach at times because of how oblivious Elena is to her own vocabulary.

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Courtesy of Simpson Street & Hello Sunshine (left Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon) 

Elena makes the attempt to welcome Mia and Pearl into her home, they became friends and had discussions about motherhood. The flashbacks to their former selves, played by Tiffany Boone and AnnaSophia Robb, were placed properly as well, so the audience can come to their own conclusion of how “motherly” these characters were. What does it take to be a mother? Are all women fit to be mothers? How does one even define motherhood? Is it really a choice to even be a mother or is it more of an obligation to the gender role? These constructs have women in a box, in a cage, if you will and once they get locked into a role or a life, they did not plan on having, it leads to difficult decisions.

What was most interesting about this show, was the character dynamics, between Mia and Izzy Richardson (Megan Stott) versus Pearl and Elena. Pearl wanted to live a normal life, she wanted to attend school and go to homecoming dances, maybe even experience her first love and stay for a while. Izzy hated her small town life, she did not want to feel boxed in and her art was her freedom. Both Izzy and Pearl, essentially, wanted to switch lives and switch mothers. Izzy and Pearl, saw who they wanted to be when they were older. Izzy saw herself, as a free, artistic spirit like Mia and Pearl saw herself, in a huge home, with a picture-perfect husband and a family like Elena.

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Courtesy of Simpson Street & Hello Sunshine (top) Kerry Washington and Lexi Underwood (bottom) Reese Witherspoon and Megan Stott

The final three episodes of the series, is when all the demons and secrets, creep out and wreak havoc on everyone close to the Richardson family. Their perfect family is torn apart by lies and poor decisions made by Trip Richardson (Jordan Elsass), Lexie Richardson (Jade Pettyjohn) and Elena. The central story, eventually shifts, to a legal battle between Elena’s friend, Linda McCullough (Rosemarie DeWitt) and Mia’s coworker, Bebe Chow (Lu Huang), who fight for custody of young Mirabella/May Ling. It leaves everyone questioning, who is the right fit, to mother this child. Is it the birth mother or the adopted mother? As that heartbreaking storyline unfolds, we find out who Elena and Mia really are through flashbacks.

Little Fires Everywhere is one of the best series I have seen this year and it will keep you in it, until the very end. This cast is extremely strong, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon are incredible in this! The show is very important because it is very subtle in its delivery, that you won’t even realize how many issues are boiling under the surface. It slowly creates this atmosphere of doom like a slow, burning fire, that will ignite at any second. The final episode shows the privilege literally burning to the ground and I think it is a wonderful metaphor.

 

2020 Critics’ Choice Awards: List of Winners

Taye Diggs hosted the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards tonight and the confusion continues as the winners were announced.

Here are the list of winners…

BEST PICTURE

1917
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Parasite
Uncut Gems

MY PICK: Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood 

WINNER: Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood 

BEST ACTOR

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Robert De Niro, The Irishman
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

MY PICK: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems 

WINNER: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker 

BEST ACTRESS

Awkwafina, The Farewell
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy

MY PICK: Lupita Nyong’o, Us 

WINNER: Renee Zellweger, Judy 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

MY PICK: Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood 

WINNER: Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie,  Bombshell
Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

MY PICK: Florence Pugh, Little Women 

WINNER: Laura Dern, Marriage Story 

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

Julia Butters, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
Noah Jupe, Honey Boy
Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit
Shahadi Wright Joseph, Us
Archie Yates, Jojo Rabbit

MY PICK: Noah Jupe, Honey Boy 

WINNER: Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit 

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

Bombshell
The Irishman
Knives Out
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood  
Parasite

MY PICK: Little Women/The Irishman 

WINNER: The Irishman 

BEST DIRECTOR

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

MY PICK: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

WINNER: Sam Mendes, 1917 & Bong Joon Ho, Parasite 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Rian Johnson, Knives Out
Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, Parasite
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Lulu Wang, The Farewell

MY PICK: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood 

WINNER: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Joker
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

MY PICK: Steve Zaillian, The Irishman 

WINNER: Greta Gerwig, Little Women 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse
Roger Deakins, 1917
Phedon Papamichael, Ford v Ferrari
Rodrigo Prieto, The Irishman
Robert Richardson, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Lawrence Sher, Joker

MY PICK: Roger Deakins, 1917 

WINNER: Roger Deakins, 1917

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran, Joker
Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales, 1917
Jess Gonchor, Claire Kaufman, Little Women
Lee Ha Jun, Parasite
Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Bob Shaw, Regina Graves, The Irishman
Donal Woods, Gina Cromwell, Downton Abbey

MY PICK: Bob Shaw, Regina Graves, The Irishman 

WINNER: Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

BEST EDITING

Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, Uncut Gems
Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker, Ford v Ferrari
Yang Jinmo, Parasite
Fred Raskin, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Thelma Schoonmaker, The Irishman
Lee Smith, 1917

MY PICK: Thelma Schoonmaker, The Irishman 

WINNER: Lee Smith, 1917 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Ruth E. Carter, Dolemite Is My Name
Julian Day, Rocketman
Jacqueline Durran, Little Women
Arianne Phillips, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson, The Irishman
Anna Robbins, Downton Abbey

MY PICK: Ruth E. Carter, Dolemite Is My Name 

WINNER: Ruth E. Carter, Dolemite Is My Name 

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP

Bombshell
Dolemite Is My Name The Irishman
Joker
Judy
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Rocketman

MY PICK: The Irishman 

WINNER: Bombshell 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1917
Ad Astra
The Aeronauts
Avengers: Endgame
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
The Lion King 

MY PICK: Ad Astra 

WINNER: Avengers: Endgame 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Abominable
Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

MY PICK: Missing Link 

WINNER: Toy Story 4 

BEST ACTION MOVIE

1917
Avengers: Endgame
Ford v Ferrari
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Spider-Man: Far From Home

MY PICK: Ford v Ferrari 

WINNER: Avengers: Endgame 

BEST COMEDY

Booksmart
Dolemite Is My Name
The Farewell
Jojo Rabbit
Knives Out

MY PICK: Booksmart 

WINNER: Dolemite Is My Name 

BEST SCI-FI OR HORROR MOVIE

Ad Astra
Avengers: Endgame
Midsommar
Us

MY PICK: Us 

WINNER: Us 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Atlantics
Les Misérables
Pain and Glory
Parasite
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

MY PICK: Parasite 

WINNER: Parasite 

BEST SONG

“Glasgow (No Place Like Home)”, Wild Rose
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”, Rocketman
“I’m Standing With You”, Breakthrough
“Into the Unknown”, Frozen II
“Speechless”, Aladdin
“Spirit”, The Lion King
“Stand Up”, Harriet

MY PICK: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” Rocketman  

WINNER: “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)”, Wild Rose
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”,  Rocketman

BEST SCORE

Michael Abels, Us 
Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker
Randy Newman, Marriage Story
Thomas Newman, 1917
Robbie Robertson, The Irishman

MY PICK: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker

WINNER: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker

My picks are in BOLD and the winners will be highlighted in GOLD

BEST DRAMA SERIES

The Crown (Netflix)
David Makes Man (OWN)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Pose (FX)
Succession (HBO)
This Is Us (NBC)
Watchmen (HBO)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC)
Mike Colter,  Evil (CBS)
Paul Giamatti, Billions (Showtime)
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor (ABC)
Tobias Menzies, The Crown (Netflix)
Billy Porter, Pose (FX)
Jeremy Strong, Succession (HBO)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Christine Baranski, The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Olivia Colman, The Crown (Netflix)
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve (BBC America)
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies (HBO)
Regina King, Watchmen (HBO)
Mj Rodriguez, Pose (FX)
Sarah Snook, Succession (HBO)
Zendaya, Euphoria (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Asante Blackk, This Is Us (NBC)
Billy Crudup, The Morning Show (Apple)
Asia Kate Dillon, Billions (Showtime)
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Justin Hartley, This Is Us (NBC)
Delroy Lindo, The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Tim Blake Nelson, Watchmen (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown (Netflix)
Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies (HBO)
Audra McDonald, The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Jean Smart, Watchmen (HBO)
Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies (HBO)
Susan Kelechi Watson, This Is Us (NBC)

BEST COMEDY SERIES

Barry (HBO)
Fleabag (Amazon)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Mom (CBS)
One Day at a Time (Netflix)
PEN15 (Hulu)
Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Ted Danson, The Good Place (NBC)
Walton Goggins, The Unicorn (CBS)
Bill Hader, Barry (HBO)
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Paul Rudd, Living with Yourself (Netflix)
Bashir Salahuddin, Sherman’s Showcase (IFC)
Ramy Youssef, Ramy (Hulu)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me (Netflix)
Alison Brie, GLOW (Netflix)
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida (Showtime)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag (Amazon)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC)
Anthony Carrigan, Barry (HBO)
William Jackson Harper, The Good Place (NBC)
Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Nico Santos, Superstore (NBC)
Andrew Scott, Fleabag (Amazon)
Henry Winkler, Barry (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place (NBC)
Sian Clifford, Fleabag (Amazon)
Betty Gilpin, GLOW (Netflix)
Rita Moreno, One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Molly Shannon, The Other Two (Comedy Central)

BEST LIMITED SERIES

Catch-22 (Hulu)
Chernobyl (HBO)
Fosse/Verdon (FX)
The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
Unbelievable (Netflix)
When They See Us (Netflix)
Years and Years (HBO)

BEST MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Brexit (HBO)
Deadwood: The Movie (HBO)
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix)
Guava Island (Amazon)
Native Son (HBO)
Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)

BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Christopher Abbott, Catch-22 (Hulu)
Mahershala Ali, True Detective (HBO)
Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
Jared Harris, Chernobyl (HBO)
Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us (Netflix)
Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon (FX)
Noah Wyle, The Red Line (CBS)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable (Netflix)
Anne Hathaway, Modern Love (Amazon)
Megan Hilty, Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)
Joey King, The Act (Hulu)
Jessie Mueller, Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)
Merritt Wever, Unbelievable (Netflix)
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon (FX)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Asante Blackk, When They See Us (Netflix)
George Clooney, Catch-22 (Hulu)
John Leguizamo, When They See Us (Netflix)
Dev Patel, Modern Love (Amazon)
Jesse Plemons, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix)
Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl (HBO)
Russell Tovey, Years and Years (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Patricia Arquette, The Act (Hulu)
Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us (Netflix)
Toni Collette, Unbelievable (Netflix)
Niecy Nash, When They See Us (Netflix)
Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon (FX)
Emma Thompson, Years and Years (HBO)
Emily Watson, Chernobyl (HBO)

BEST ANIMATED SERIES

Big Mouth (Netflix)
BoJack Horseman (Netflix)
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)
The Simpsons (Fox)
Undone (Amazon)

BEST TALK SHOW

Desus & Mero (Showtime)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
The Kelly Clarkson Show (NBC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)

BEST COMEDY SPECIAL

Amy Schumer Growing (Netflix)
Jenny Slate: Stage Fright (Netflix)
Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons (ABC)
Ramy Youssef: Feelings (HBO)
Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby (Netflix)
Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (Netflix)
Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (Netflix)