Writer / director Mike White (“SCHOOL OF ROCK”, “ENLIGHTENED”) is the hit American TV show of the summer, which deals with the excessive behavior of the super-rich. Against a tropical backdrop, the star-studded socially critical satire scrutinizes the white privilege of a group of luxury tourists.
Film review by Gaby Tscharner Patao
As every week, a new boat with super-rich tourists arrives at the luxury Hawaiian hotel The White Lotus.Murray Bartlett) can be received with orchid leis. Among the newcomers are the Mossbachers, Nicole’s troubled family (Connie Britton), the CEO of a multibillion-dollar tech company, the single Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) arrives with her late mother’s ashes and a heap of problems and the newly wed Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) realizes on her honeymoon that she has little with Shane (Jake Lacy), her spoiled and quarrelsome mother’s son of a husband. They all bring their emotional baggage with them on vacation and unload it on the well-meaning hotel staff, which ultimately even leads to death for one of the protagonists of this series. Right, The White Lotus is also a thriller.
Mike White, the writer and director of “THE WHITE LOTUS”, is a master of observing human behavior, which he has also proven as a frequent participant in American reality TV shows such as “THE AMAZING RACE” and “SURVIVOR”. With the critically acclaimed series “ELIGHTENED”, about a woman whose spiritual awakening causes chaos in her environment, ten years ago he proved that he can skillfully combine human behavior with the current zeitgeist and pack it into good entertainment.
In the first few minutes of the first episode, it becomes clear in which direction THE WHITE LOTUS is heading. Like the conquerors, the luxury tourists land in a boat on the shores of a Hawaiian island, where they expect to be pampered and pampered by the local employees of the luxury hotel. Parallels to the stories of colonialists like Captain Cook, who brought plagues like measles to locals and robbed them of their land, are not accidental.
In contrast to other upstairs / downstairs TV series such as “DOWNTON ABBEY”, we see the events in the hotel almost exclusively from the perspective of the rich guests.
© Sky Show
Tanya books her first wellness appointment before she has even set foot in the hotel. When she turned to the caring spa worker Belinda (Natasha Rothwell), she confuses their willingness to help with friendship. “You are so good with your hands,” purrs the extremely needy heiress on the masseuse’s table. “You should have your own wellness center.” Since Tanya has the financial means to make Belinda’s dream of self-employment a reality, she uses this as a lure so that she can avail herself of the services of the kind-hearted hotel employees at any time.
After the Trump presidency, TV series such as “SUCCESSION”, “BIG LITTLE LIES” and “THE UNDOING”, which deal with the decadence and excesses of the richest Americans, are booming. With “THE WHITE LOTUS” this trend has now reached new heights.
In contrast to other upstairs / downstairs TV series such as “DOWNTON ABBEY”, we see the events in the hotel almost exclusively from the perspective of the rich guests. After the employee Lani (Jolene Purdy) is constantly plagued by stomach pains on her first day at work, her amniotic fluid finally bursts in the middle of the hotel lobby. The Hawaiian hid her pregnancy during her job interview in order to have health insurance when her child is born. But the selfish concierge Armand had no clue. “I thought she was just a little fat”. We get a little more background story from Kai (Kekoa Kekumano), a waiter and hula dancer at the White Lotus Resort. His Hawaiian family once owned the land the hotel is built on, and today he works for the people who stole it from him. His relationship with one of the hotel guests has far-reaching consequences for the local.
After the Trump presidency, TV series such as “SUCCESSION”, “BIG LITTLE LIES” and “THE UNDOING”, which deal with the decadence and excesses of the richest Americans, are booming. With “THE WHITE LOTUS” this trend has now reached new heights. The Mossbachers see it as a kind of development aid that their daughter Oliva (Sydney Sweeney) a less well-to-do, dark friend Paula (Brittany O’Grady) may bring with you on vacation. When Paula mentions at lunch that it bothers her that the Hawaiians had to dance for the tourists the previous evening, Father Mark says (Steve Zahn). “Of course imperialism is bad. But this is America. Nobody relinquishes their privilege. That is against human nature. ”But he also knows that civil rights movements like“ Black Lives Matter ”or“ #Metoo ”make it more and more difficult, especially for white men in the USA. A fact that Nicole Mossbacher, the mother of a white son, also criticized between sunbathing by the pool and the next Zoom meeting with customers in China.
© Sky Show
The plot is completed by a third strand with the former therapist Aimee (Dania Ramirez) downtown. A woman who was listless in her old life and only finds her destiny in the face of catastrophe. There is certainly potential for exciting entanglements. In the first four episodes, however, this part of the plot simply does not have enough space to be able to boast particularly.
With its biting dialogues and enormously self-centered protagonists, “THE WHITE LOTUS” shows the dangers hidden behind the perfect facade of luxury tourism. The marketing of foreign cultures or the “shameless use” of them have devastating effects. The series falls into its own trap in the last two episodes and tries to arouse our sympathy for some of the hotel residents such as Nicole and Mark Mossbacher and it gives their son an aha moment, but it certainly does not lead to a more conscious life . But, just like in real life, the presents from “THE WHITE LOTUS” exist in their own aquarium, which protects them from the consequences of their actions or the desire to make things fairer. They don’t even have to go on vacation to do that.
4.5 out of 5 ★
THE WHITE LOTUS, from August 23rd on Sky Show, optionally in the English original or in the German dubbed version.