The White Lotus Review: It Grows on You
Imagine a busy beehive where bees are coming and going. They’re busying collecting honey, building their hive, and whatever else bees do. There is a constant buzz in the air that you cannot ignore. That is how The White Lotus feels like. Created, directed, and written by Mike White, the show is a satirical comedy-drama. With an eccentric ensemble cast, the show addresses some important social issues. However, does the chaotic energy of the show makes sense or not?
Shot entirely in Hawaii, The White Lotus makes you want to run to the beach
Premiered on HBO, The White Lotus is a brainchild of Mike White. Despite the pandemic restrictions, the shooting began in October 2020. The entire series is shot in Maui and the surrounding areas. Keeping the plot and cast aside, the locations are breathtaking and gives an illusion of paradise. The place is so gorgeous that it makes you want to take a vacation right away.
Despite being an ensemble cast, White has managed to get the best TV actors on-board
After the limited series was announced, everyone got curious about the cast. And Mike White did not disappoint. The cast includes Murray Bartlett, Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, and Fred Hechinger. At the same time, Jake Lacy, Brittany O’Grady, Natasha Rothwell, Sydney Sweeney, and Steve Zahn are also in the show.
Although the characters of The White Lotus are on a vacation, things start to go wrong from the beginning
The show begins with resort manager, Armond, instructing his employees to give the guests a warm welcome. However, from the beginning, we see that things have started to go out of control. The first setback that Armond faces is that her new employee is having a baby. Similarly, he makes a mistake and gives the wrong room to one of the guests. On the other hand, the guests have brought along their own baggage (not to be mistaken with their luggage). Despite the happy faces, you can sense that they all are ticking bombs. There is a young honeymoon couple, Rachel and Shane. A lonely woman, Tanya, grieving her mother who has brought her ashes on the vacation. Then there is the family who does everything in their power to hide the dysfunctional dynamics. It consists of Nicole and Mark Mossbacher, their kids, Olivia and Quinn, Olivia’s friend, Paula. Among these queer groups of people, there is a voice of reason, the spa manager, Belinda.
With each episode, the dark side of every person of the resort comes out. Armond, who has struggled with addiction in the past, starts to lose control when things get out of his hand. Meanwhile, the Mossbacher family and Paula start to struggle with their own personal demons. However, Quinn starts to really connect with his real self. At the same time, the bond between the newlyweds starts to show cracks. Tanya, who is completely lost, finds some solace in the shape of Belinda. An,d of course, there is a murder too.
From the beginning, one can sense the focus on an important issue that The White Lotus addresses
When the resort employees line up to greet the guests, the class and race difference is clear. Where the guests are all white, the employees are from diverse backgrounds. Throughout the show, this difference is prominent. While the white guests lounge and relax, the staff blends in the background. The issue is further highlighted when Kai, the resort employee, tells Paula that the land where the resort is build was actually his ancestors. Despite being owners of the land, they are forced to live in poverty. From that onwards, Paula starts to see Olivia and her family in a different light. According to her, they are the villains. At the same time, Paula starts to identify more with the marginalized race than her white friend.
Similarly, Rachel starts to notice how derogatory Shane’s behavior is with the staff. Despite her pinpointing it, Shane does not recognize his position of privilege. On the other hand, Tanya acts like a true white savior for Belinda. However, she fails to actually fulfill the promise she made to her.
If you look at the premises of The White Lotus and then compare it with the opening credits, it all makes sense. The resort is like a zoo and the characters are pouncing at each other, getting restless in their cages. However, it is actually the unresolved baggage and wounded egos that make each character act in a certain way.
At first glance, The White Lotus is bizarre and uncomfortable. But as the layers start to peel off, the real issues come out. I’ll give it 3.5 stars.