Little Fires Everywhere Review: Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington Team Up For Amazon Prime Drama

It's the latest piece in Reese's TV puzzle.

Reese Witherspoon

by Grazia |

Of all the screen stars to shift allegiance from cinema to elite streaming services, few have affected their repositioning with more strategic poise than Reese Witherspoon. After the ground-breaking Big Little Lies and The Morning Show, she has a third ace up her sleeve as producer and star of the author Celeste Ng’s 2017 potboiler, Little Fires Everywhere. Imagine the monied Monterey of BLL shifted to suburban Ohio. You’re more than halfway in.

Like BLL, Little Fires Everywhere opens with a crime scene before flashing back to fill out the plot points in this smartly watchable who-and-why-dunnit. Like BLL, Witherspoon is a luxuriously successful busybody housewife whose primary concern is keeping up appearances. As she watches the embers of her beautifully manicured home burn to the ground, a prime suspect is introduced in the form of surly 14-year-old Isabel, the youngest of her four otherwise picture-perfect pride. Witherspoon is on safely formidable form here, back from the outer edges she stretched into as the errant, blowhard TV anchor in The Morning Show. Elena Robinson distinguishes herself from BLL’s Madeline Mackenzie with a less knowing inclination to view herself from the outside in.

Her foil is Kerry Washington as Mia Warren, a nomadic, bohemian single parent who turns up in the neighbourhood with daughter Pearl. Elena’s quick change from dobbing Mia into the cops for sleeping in her busted motor to offering her a dream rental at cut price is built on Witherspoon’s massive resource of impulsive nerves.

Elena and Mia become increasingly embroiled in one another’s lives, taking an unusually strong interest in the offspring neither can parent properly. Mia is drawn to Isabel’s wayward, artsy, glum defiance. Elena wants to maximise Pearl’s potential. The case of a baby left outside a fire station ignites their wrestling maternal fires.

Underneath all the major key narratives sits a queasy minor refrain of domestic racial profiling, adding an acidic sting. Little Fires Everywhere is unlikely to have the same talking point obsession as either BLL or The Morning Show. But as a further notch on Witherspoon’s streaming bedpost, it’s a slyly perfect addition to the canon.

Little Fires Everywhere is on Amazon Prime from Friday May 22nd

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