Based on the novel by Celeste Ng, it’s set in 1990s suburban Ohio in the city of Shaker Heights and stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as two mothers who are brought together by their teenage children. As we see in the opening minutes, it’s a story that ends in arson – but who set the fire?
Here are the characters you’ll see on screen, and the actors who play them:
Reese Witherspoon plays Elena Richardson
Who is Elena Richardson? Elena is a local journalist and the mother of four teenagers. Elena lives a privileged lifestyle and is obsessed with keeping up appearances. She also lives a life defined by rules: sex takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and you have to comply with society’s expectations in order to succeed.
What else has Reese Witherspoon been in? The Oscar-winning actress has enjoyed a prolific career across film and TV. Recently she’s starred in The Morning Show (as Bradley Jackson) and Big Little Lies (as Madeleine Martha Mackenzie); other memorable roles have included Ella Woods in the Legally Blonde movies, Cheryl in the 2014 movie Wild, and June Carter in Walk the Line. You may also have seen her in The Good Lie, Vanity Fair, Water for Elephants, A Wrinkle in Time, or American Psycho.
Kerry Washington plays Mia Warren
Who is Mia Warren? A hard-up artist and a single mother of a 15-year-old daughter. Mia arrives in town looking for somewhere short-term to rent, and Elena ends up being her new landlady – a relationship that’s not without its tensions.
What else has Kerry Washington been in? She starred as Olivia Pope in the TV series Scandal, a role which earned her nominations for a Golden Globe and an Emmy. She was also nominated for both awards again after starring as Anita Hill in the TV movie Confirmation in 2016. Other roles have included Broomhulda van Shaft in Django Unchained, Princess Shuri in the Black Panther TV series, Chenille in Save the Last Dance, Kay Amin in The Last King of Scotland, and Alice Masters in Fantastic Four.
Joshua Jackson plays Bill Richardson
Who is Bill Richardson? Elena’s husband. He is a well-paid lawyer and a bit more laid-back than her – especially when it comes to Izzy.
What else has Joshua Jackson been in? Joshua Jackson starred as Cole Lockhart in The Affair, and played the role of Mickey Joseph in Netflix’s When They See Us. He’s also known for plays Pacey Witter in Dawson’s Creek, Peter Bishop in sci-fi series Fringe, and Charlie in The Might Ducks movies.
Rosemarie DeWitt plays Linda McCullough
Who is Linda McCullough? Elena’s friend, and a fellow member of her book club. She and her husband recently adopted a young baby.
What else has Rosemarie DeWitt been in? Recent roles have included Marie in the Black Mirror episode Arkangel, Rose Brady in The Last Tycoon, and Laura in La La Land. She starred in the 2008 movie Rachel Getting Married, 2011 movie Your Sister’s Sister, and the TV shows Mad Men (as Midge Daniels), United States of Tara (as Charmaine Craine) and Standoff (as Emily Lehman).
Lexi Underwood plays Pearl Warren
Who is Pearl Warren? Mia’s daughter. Pearl is 15 and is very close to her mother; they’ve been through a lot together, moving from town to town across America and surviving without very much money at all. Now, Pearl is keen to stay in one place for at least a year and get a bit more stability in her life. She is drawn to the Richardson family.
What else has Lexi Underwood been in? The young actress is also a star of musical theatre, having played Young Nala in the The Lion King – a role which took her to Broadway. She’s also been in Henry Danger, Walk the Prank, Raven’s Home, Family Reunion, No Good Nick, the movie ‘If Not Now, When?’, and Will vs. The Future.
Jade Pettyjohn plays Lexie Richardson
Who is Lexie Richardson? Elena’s and Bill’s eldest daughter. She is a straight-A student and is 100% confident that she’ll be going to Yale, even though she hasn’t applied yet. Lexie takes after her mother in almost every way, and the two of them generally get along great.
What else has Jade Pettyjohn been in? Jade Pettyjohn started out as a child actress at the age of seven, first appearing on TV a year later: her credits include Revolution, Dakota’s Summer, All I Want for Christmas, Henry Danger, The Last Ship, An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars, and Nickelodeon movie Rufus-2. More recently, she starred as Summer Hathaway in the TV series School of Rock, Dot Nancy in The Righteous Gemstones, and Shelby in the 2018 movie Destroyer.
Megan Stott plays Izzy Richardson
Who is Izzy Richardson? Elena’s and Bill’s youngest daughter, and the black sheep of the family. She has a particularly strained relationship with her mother, who can’t seem to accept her as she is – and insists on calling her “Isobel Marie” and policing what she wears and how she does her hair. Izzy is artistic and plays the violin.
What else has Megan Stott been in? This is her break-out role.
Gavin Lewis plays Moody Richardson
Who is Moody Richardson? Elena’s and Bill’s younger son. He can be shy, but he forms an immediate bond with Pearl when she moves into town.
What else has Gavin Lewis been in? Just before Little Fires Everywhere, Gavin Lewis starred as Prince Emil in the TV series Prince of Peoria.
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Jordan Elsass plays Trip Richardson
Who is Trip Richardson? Elena’s and Bill’s older son and golden boy. Trip is a sociable jock and gets on great with his confident, popular sister Lexie; he has less in common with Izzy or Moody.
What else has Jordan Elsass been in? The young actor has made appearances in a number of American TV series, but he’s going to be on TV a lot more in the near future: in the TV series Superman & Lois he’s set to play Jonathan Kent, and he’ll also star as Matt Casile in Amazon drama Panic.