Review: The White Lotus, season 1

Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy in The White Lotus

The White Lotus tells the story of a group of wealthy white people vacationing at a luxury resort in Hawaii. We know from the first episode that someone died, but we don’t know any details. After we learn that much, we flashback to when this group arrived at the resort. This dark comedy is streaming on HBO.

The White Lotus takes a pointed stick and pokes at white privilege, at immature entitled Americans, at classism, at racism, at patriarchy, and at colonialism. The premise was to take a group of flawed and unhappy characters and use their foibles and weaknesses to make points with humor. A few non-rich, non-white characters were sprinkled among this cast to score basic truths.

This storytelling technique worked fairly well. It wasn’t 100%, but it was easy to watch and understand. However, it made me reconsider my long-held desire to go to Hawaii and stay in a resort.

Murray Bartlett in The White Lotus

Armond (Murray Bartlett) was the manager. He had his own disastrous storyline in addition to trying to keep all the guests happy. Armond brings passive/aggressive to new heights.

Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy in The White Lotus

Rachel Patton (Alexandra Daddario) and Shane Patton (Jake Lacy) were there on their honeymoon. The honeymoon definitely did not go according to plan. Shane was the rich jerk, tone deaf to his wife’s needs. Rachel was from a working class background and having money was an adjustment for her.

Sydney Sweeney and Brittany O'Grady in The White Lotus

The Mossbacher family included Nicole (Connie Britton), Mark (Steve Zahn), Quinn (Fred Hechinger), and Olivia (Sydney Sweeney). Olivia brought her friend Paula (Brittany O’Grady) along. The Mossbacher clan was a dysfunctional mess. Paula, as you might guess from her infinitesimally darker skin, was able to identify with the Hawaiian people who worked around the resort.

Paula brought in the story of Kai (Kekoa Kekumano), a Hawaiian. His story included the colonial conquest and land grabs that affected his people and forced him to work in a resort catering to rich bigots.

Connie Britton in The White Lotus

Connie Britton is always the main attraction to me, whatever she’s in. Here she was unlikable and neurotic. She was a successful businesswoman and the main breadwinner in the family.

I need a small side rant about Connie Britton. She has played so many unlikeable characters lately in shows such as Promising Young Woman, Dirty John, Professor Marston & the Wonder Women, and Beatriz at Dinner. I want to be able to like Connie Britton in everything, okay? I want her to be Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights all the time, okay? Thank you. . . . But Britton has different ideas. In an interview at The Independent, she said, “These are all women who are doing their best but are very, very limited because of the cultural constraints that they’ve grown up in. And I’m fascinated by that right now. Who are the hundreds of thousands of women who voted for Trump? I want to understand them better. I want to pull them in and say, ‘Let’s not be afraid to know that you actually could think of yourself differently, and value yourself differently, and be more empowered.’ But in order to do that, we have to look at them very honestly.”

Jennifer Coolidge and Natasha Rothwell in The White Lotus

Many people have commented on the great the performance from Alexandra Daddario in The White Lotus, But I’m giving the show stopping, scene stealing award to Jennifer Coolidge as the damaged and needy Tanya.

Tanya befriended Belinda (Natasha Rothwell), who worked in the spa. Tanya did some real harm there. Like most of the guests in this resort, she was totally unaware of the harm she did. The Belinda storyline ended with an unanswered question, which was unusual.

Most of the storylines in the series concluded in one way or another – not all happy. There were some surprises and twists at the end tying back to that death we learned about in episode 1.

The series has been renewed for a second season, which will take place in a different resort, with a different cast. Mike White created the series and directed every episode of season 1.

poster for The White Lotus

Check out the trailer.

Did you watch this series? What did you think of it?

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!

Comments are appreciated!