What to watch: Little Fires Everywhere

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Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washinton in Little Fires Everywhere. (PHOTO: Showmax)
Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washinton in Little Fires Everywhere. (PHOTO: Showmax)

Rating: 4/5

If you missed this Emmy-nominated miniseries on M-Net, you can now binge-watch the whole thing. Based on Celeste Ng’s critically acclaimed 2017 novel, Little Fires Everywhere stars Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies) and Emmy nominee Kerry Washington (The Fixer) as two moms from vastly different socio-economic backgrounds.

Elena Richardson (Witherspoon) is (seemingly) happily married, has four children and lives in a mansion in a wealthy neighbourhood. Mia Warren (Washington), on the other hand, is a struggling artist and single mom with a closet full of skeletons. She and her daughter, Pearl (Lexi Underwood), live a nomadic lifestyle, never staying in one place long enough to integrate into a community.

When Pearl becomes friends with Elena’s son Moody (Gavin Lewis), the women are forced into an uncomfortable alliance that’s underpinned by prejudices, unconscious racism, mistrust and manipulation.

The cast includes Joshua Jackson (The Affair) as Elena’s husband and Rosemarie DeWitt (Poltergeist) as her childhood friend.

The series addresses a wide range of issues. It’s a sensitive investigation into good intentions that are so seated in inequality and imbalance that they eventually lead to disaster. It also portrays the emotional impact that long-term animosity and mistrust have on the human psyche.

Apart from examining systemic racism – Elena is quick to vocalise how she’s not racist, but continues to support and use the power and privilege a skewed system affords her – and the economic divide, pertinent questions are also posed about motherhood and what it takes to be a good parent.

2020. 8 EPISODES. 16VSL.

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