The White Lotus (2021-) has been widely praised since its release during the summer of 2021. It stars Jennifer Coolidge (Tanya), Connie Britton (Nicole), Alexandra Daddario (Rachel), Jake Lacy (Shane), Sydney Sweeney (Olivia), and others. As I started watching the first episode, I thought I would be turned away quickly and not care about the characters enough to watch the whole series. I was wrong.
As the episodes progressed, I could sense that something more sinister was brewing. Not in a bloody, traditional horror movie way, but in its own unique type of horror and suspense way. Slowly but swiftly, the true nature of the characters are revealed and the overarching theme of class is placed front and center. This is not the kind of show you are meant to watch in the background while you are doing something, you will miss something vital to the plot. This is a show you need to sit down and watch with your full attention. It comments on class, tradition, and norms. That can be a lot to handle and digest fully at times.
While some reviewers and magazines classify The White Lotus as a drama and comedy show, I would say it more closely aligns with drama. There are humorous, ironic moments, but that is not the focus of the show. Satire makes up a huge part of the plot and is central to the story, but the comedy feels more like a nicely incorporated decoration than the soul of the story.
The ending was one of my favorite things about this series, which has been renewed for another season. While I am jealous of the cast for getting to spend so much time shooting at a glamorous resort in Maui, the final episode found a way to make the island feel idyllic but also creepy.
The opening scene of the show that sets the series in motion is finally completed in the last few minutes of the last episode. It leaves the audience with a lot to think about regarding class and the structure of society. My mind kept thinking about how some people can get away with nearly anything because of their societal standing, but others make a bad choice one time and it changes their life irrevocably. I would love to read a disection of this show by someone who has a sound understanding of politics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. I think that would make for an interesting YouTube video, Ted Talk, or thesis paper. Maybe I will search the internet to see if I can find that.
Overall, I recommend watching this show. It uses a great selection of music, color grading, and nature to set the tone and keep the suspense going even when the summary of the plot could seem too normal or ordinary to be interesting. Great job Mike White (writer, director, and creator of the show)! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the conversations this show has started in my mind.
*Disclaimer: Making a movie/tv show is hard. Sometimes you have an idea and it is not interpreted how you intended it to be. All directors, producers, writers, and everyone on set should be proud at what they created and I do not want to diminish that. I just want to share my opinions so we can learn from movies and see what works and what didn’t.