The Liz Tigelaar created miniseries is currently streaming on Showmax.
Hulu’s ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ is a book-to-film adaptation of Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel that tells a striking tale of race, motherhood, class and the conflict birthed by intolerance.
While the series’ central idea focuses on two juxtaposed ideas of motherhood, a lot of the novel’s conflict is spun to centre around the Black and White race with the definition of its principal characters Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) and Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon).
Set in the 90s, Witherspoon plays a prim and proper White and privileged mother, wife and journalist in that exact order. Elena is obsessed with organising and controlling everyone and everything including sex!
Washington, on the other hand, plays Mia, a nomadic artist with strikingly contrasting ideals made deeper by the mysteries her past is cloaked in.
Mia and Elena have their paths cross when the artist and her teenage daughter, Pearl (Lexi Underwood) arrive the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights to begin a new life.
Elena extends Mia the kind gesture of her rental home at almost no cost but as the days go by, the mothers become weary of each other. Mia’s race first prompts Elena’s distrust which soon evolves to a high-handed questioning of Mia’s parenting skills. Elena also secretly covets Mia’s perfect Pearl who she believes is being neglected.
Meanwhile, Elena’s four kids are anything but perfect despite her tireless attempt to keep them up to par. Her fourth, Izzy Richardson (Megan Stott) is the typical black sheep.
Izzy struggles with accepting her identity in the pristine white run household and oftentimes clashes with Elena’s perfectly laid out plans.
The dynamics between the mothers develop to explosive fireworks when Elena discovers Mia helped her undocumented Chinese colleague find the daughter she abandoned at a fire station. Mia’s actions leave Elena’s childless friend, Linda, distraught over the looming loss of the child she had adopted.
A clear-cut point that ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ drives home is how there is no right way to motherhood, how every attempt is imperfect and beautiful. The miniseries touches on adoption, single parenting, the female anatomy and abortion (a very touchy subject even in today’s world).
While it maintains its melodramatic effect, it is not adversely dramatic which affords its audience the opportunity to never miss the vital arguments that it puts forward.
There are familiar demons in the series that its audience will find relatable regardless of race, class and age.
In the end, the show posits no clear villain or hero for that matter. It is an interesting feat seeing as the characters are symbols representing social structures, views and ideals.
The eight-episode miniseries is available to stream on Showmax.com