Review: Little Fires Everywhere, season 1

Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon in Little Fires Everywhere

When Hulu dropped the first 3 episodes of Little Fires Everywhere, I predicted that the season was going to be outstanding. I’m patting myself on the back after watching the final episode. It was even better than I expected.

Little Fires Everywhere managed to create numerous nuanced characters and to tell a story that was different enough from the book to be a surprise at the end.

Motherhood and class and race and privilege and bias all tangled together in this story about two women. Each saw the other as lacking. In the end, when their respective cages were demolished – scorched – there was hope for new growth in the aftermath.

All kinds of motherhood issues confined the female characters. Wanted children, unwanted children, birth children, adopted children, parental rights – every aspect of parenting was touched.

The writing around white privilege and how blind the people who have it are to having it was really well done. There were many nuanced and well-drawn examples.

Kerry Washington in Little Fires Everywhere

Kerry Washington as Mia lived a lie every day of her life. A lie around motherhood. Yet she was a great mother to her own daughter and also to Izzy (Megan Stott), who was Reese Witherspoon’s daughter.

I was impressed with the writing and the brilliant inevitability of the ending. I was impressed with the acting from everyone, particularly the teens in the story.

Reese Witherspoon in Little Fires Everywhere

The burning heart of this story was the performances from Washington and Witherspoon. Incendiary, deep, true and powerful work from them both.

Kerry Washington has had the opportunity to play many types of women in her career. She’s been everything from a power fixer to a slave to a junkie to a princess. We’re used to seeing her be amazing.

Reese Witherspoon is hard not to typecast. As she’s gotten older, she’s taken hold of her career and put herself in roles with more meat and range. She’s brilliant at both finding the parts and playing the parts.

Throughout Witherspoon’s career, people have commented about how smart she is, as if in apology for her blonde perkiness. In Little Fires Everywhere she shows a dark underbelly. The rage, the exhaustion, and the years she brings prove she’s gone way beyond the perky blonde image that’s caged her for so long.

I wrote elsewhere about the women behind this series. When women are given the opportunity to tell their own stories the results are outstanding. I applaud everyone involved!

Poster for little fires everywhere

This series alone is worth the price of a membership at Hulu if you don’t already have one.

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

6 thoughts on “Review: Little Fires Everywhere, season 1”

  1. Just gave this a quickie IG reviews on my week of TV shows.. 5 minutes in I realized I had read the book.. it happens to me a lot. But the book was so damn good and I can’t remember the exact ending, so I’m TOTALLY in this show as well. 🙂

    1. LOL, the ending in the book is very different! I like this ending a lot. It gives the 4 kids a way to separate from Elena – one of the main jobs any teen faces – and it opens up a whole range of future story telling if they decide to create more of this story.

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