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During the fifth episode of “Big Little Lies,” director Jean-Marc Vallée unveiled an image so instantly satisfying its full weight didn’t register right away: Three women, running together in silence, wordlessly united against the pain all around them. Jane’s therapeutic jogging scenes have become a staple of the HBO limited series, but Shailene Woodley’s character is no longer alone. Her new equally tormented best friends, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) and Celeste (Nicole Kidman), are now running right beside her. It’s a testament to the support needed to survive in a world filled with hardship, but it’s also a conviction of silent suffering. Each woman has a secret. Each woman is afraid to confess her secret, and — as the series so prominently foreshadows — it could end up killing one of them.

All of us as women have a friend, or a relative, or have gone through [some kind of abuse] ourselves. There are all of these playful sort of comments on Big Little Lies about women’s manipulation or women’s dirty secrets, but in fact the biggest little lie is how we carry shame about what men have done. We have to learn to use our voice to protect ourself and each other, because there is no shame in what another person has done to us, and it’s time to defend ourselves and demand to be treated with respect. That’s such a profound thought—I just felt privileged to be a part of that story.
—  Laura Dern