Big Love is a family, drama television series that aired on HBO. Bill Henrickson, (Bill Paxton), is a born polygamist that refuses to live within the religious compounds of Juniper Creek, even though his mother, Lois (Grace Zabriskie), and father, Frank Harlow (Bruce Dern), reside there.
Bill moves his three wives; Barbara (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicolette Grant (Chloe Sevigny), and Margene Heffman (Ginnifer Goodwin), into a Sandy, Utah, surburb. They all work together to raise a total of nine children, ages ranging from infant to teenager. The entire family, including the children, work diligently to keep their polygamist family a secret, but to no avail, as it slowly leaks out. Each individual, family member slowly begins to transform themselves from looking and acting like a polygamist, except for Nicolette. She is the daughter of Roman Grant (Harry Dean Stanton, Paris, Texas), the prophet of Juniper Creek and refuses to steer far from her heritage.
Bill owns and operates a small chain of home improvement stores, Henrickson’s Home Plus, in which he has already committed to giving Roman a percentage of the profit for the church. Bill is working on opening another store and has no intentions of giving any of it’s profit to Roman or the church. Of course, Roman is going to have none of this, so the struggle begins.
Bill begins to develop a plan that would allow him to reveal his family’s secret to the world. In hopes that everyone would accept his family and religion, he plans to run as a republican candidate in the state senate race. While he wins the race, he is quickly forced to abandon his original scheme. He becomes so involved in his plans that he fails to see his family is slowly falling apart. To make things worse, he falls in love with another woman, Ana Markovic (Branka Katic), marries, and divorces her in a very short time frame.
Bill is so determined to win the election, which he eventually does, that he does not care who’s toes he steps on during the process. The wives continue to become their own, each falling slightly in love with other men and growing farther from Bill’s embrace. While, Nicolette eventually finds a sneaky way to become Bill’s first and only legally married wife.
Bill turns to his recovering alcoholic brother, Joey (Shawn Doyle), to help him reduce Roman’s power and control over the church. His family becomes a target for Roman’s anger and frustration, but Bill continues to push forward with his agenda, stepping on anyone and everyone that gets in his way. To make matters worse, Roman’s son, Alby Grant (Matt Ross), a closeted homosexual, becomes powerful and begins targeting Bill and his family.
The eldest children, Sarah (Amanda Seyfried), and Ben (Douglas Smith), struggle with their abstinence sexuality and the normal temptations that all normal teenagers must face at one time or another. Frank and Lois have a failing marriage, he abusive, and she dealing with the beginning phase of Alzheimer’s disease. Bill faithfully attempts to take care of his mother and her failing health, but she is determined to return to the compound and back into her abusive husband’s arms.
Although I really enjoyed watching HBO’s Big Love, in today’s society, most women would have never been as dedicated and loyal to Bill, as these ladies were. My biggest gripe with the show is how weak and dependent the women really were on Bill. While the show was typically well written, the writers were never willing to take a risk and stray from the polygamist family unit.
Overall, Grace Zabriskie and Harry Dean Stanton were quite possibly the stand out characters of the show. Harry Dean, at 80 something, is still at the top of his game. Of course, Paxton, the ladies and Matt Ross were exceptional, as well. At the end of the day, I enjoyed the series and would recommend it to a friend. I would give it an 8 out of 10.