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The finale of Big Little Lies was breathtaking. And we really need to talk.

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WARNING: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. If you haven’t watched the finale of Big Little Lies, stop reading now. 

There’s a reason movie-makers have never quite moved pass their obsession with horror films centred on home invasions and hauntings.

A home is meant to be a sanctuary, a place where you can lock yourself away from the obscene terrors of the world.  After all, it’s always so much more unnerving when the evil comes from within.

While not a traditional horror production, it’s this is exact same sentiment that drove the most chilling moments of  the extraordinary Big Little Lies.

The small screen adaption of Liane Moriarty’s best selling novel of the same name has been captivating audiences worldwide for the last seven weeks and came to a dramatic conclusion yesterday in one of the best hours of television we’ll see this year.

Listen to The Binge to see why it took something as beautiful as Big Little Lies to show us true terror.

Visually, Big Little Lies is a thing of beauty.

From the stunning beachside mansions and scenic ocean views to luxury cars and the women who waft around in them, Big Little Lies did a good job of drawing audiences in with the promise of opulence and “mummy drama”.

To the uninformed observer, who hadn’t yet read Moriarty’s book, these women were living the kind of beautiful lives we could only wish for.

Yet it was inside these beautiful homes where the most terrifying scenes from Big Little Lies took place.

The finale opens on Celeste (Nicole Kidman) once again suffering extreme physical abuse at the hands of her husband, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård).

Nicole Kidman is compelling in Big Little Lies.
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In a series peppered with troubling story-lines, from Jane's (Shailene Woodley) desperate attempt to protect her falsely accused son to Madeleine (Reese Witherspoon) grappling with infidelity and the emotional loss of her daughter, it was Celeste's secret struggle with domestic abuse, taking place in her perfect home at the hands of her handsome husband, that had the power to trouble us most.

Throughout that harrowing opening scene there was one sliver of hope we were left to desperately cling to, the fact that Celeste had been secretly setting up a safe-home far away from Perry's menacing hands.

A tiny light at the end of the tunnel as we watched him continually thrust his fist into her stomach, conveniently leaving his mark in a place where the bruises would not be seen.

The Big Little Lies finale opens on Celeste (Nicole Kidman) once again suffering extreme physical abuse at the hands of her husband, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård).

Then came a moment that made viewer's hearts to drop into their throats, when Perry sashayed into the opulent living room, dressed in his Elvis attire, and joined Celeste in farewelling their fair-haired twins. It was then that he informed his wife, who was swathed in Audrey Hepburn's most iconic ensemble of a black gown and pristine pearls, that her clueless real estate agent had alerted him to her plan.

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It was a visually perfect shot of a beautiful family in their beautiful home that then gave way to a moment of tense terror.

The cheerful, calm way Perry informs Celeste that he has discovered her escape plan only intensifies the fear that slowly spreads across her stricken face. It was in that moment she realises her home, both the one she was currently standing in and the one she was planning to run to, are no longer safe.

big-little-lies-critics-feature
Behind its beautiful facade , Big Little Lies is truly terrifying.

In the next scene, where Celeste walks out of the false safety of her home and into the night with a volatile Perry at her side, the audience were treated to a moment of terror that even the darkest of horror movies cannot hope to emulate.

Because instead of monsters and demons in the dark, the threat came from something all too familar - the man who was supposed to love her.

Many of Big Little Lies' most harrowing moments were also the most cinematically beautiful scenes the series had to offer.

In fact, many of Big Little Lies most harrowing scenes were also the most cinematically beautiful scenes the series had to offer.
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From the slow-burn confrontations between Perry and Celeste on the balcony of their ocean-front home, to Jane's hazy dream runs down a cold beach as she grappled with the memory of her rapist, Big Little Lies offered us a sharp, brutal look at domestic abuse, gender bias and sexual assault through a luxurious lens.

It was a case of "come for the house-porn and A-List cast, stay for the troubling examination of brutal marriage".

Even the violent, climatic last scene where Jane realises Perry is the man who assaulted her and fathered her son, and then faces off against him in a violent tussle with Celeste, Madeline and Renata (Laura Dern) by her side, is a thing of beauty.

Listen to the full Big Little Lies bonus episode of The Binge. (Post continues after audio.) 

The women are clad in glamorous iterations of Audrey Hepburn's most iconic looks, and an opulent party is in full swing in the background as Bonnie ( Zoë Kravitz ) launches into the fray and pushes the violent Perry to his death.

The true beauty of Big Little Lies did not lie in the cinematography, sets or cast, but in the way it shone a much-needed light on the reality of domestic violence and the complex, powerful relationships between women.

True terror can be found in even the most beautiful of homes, and Big Little Lies is a timely reminder of this.

Did you love Big Little Lies? 

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