REVIEW — “The Good Lie”
Based on a compilation of true events, “The Good Lie” shows us both extremes of human nature. From the most atrocious acts to selfless sacrifices the incredible range of humanity is displayed here in what ends up being a very uplifting film.
During the Second Sudanese War, from 1983 to 2005, over 2.5 million people were killed and roughly 20,000 children were left without homes or families. These children traveled by foot, some nearly a thousand miles, to refugee camps in Africa. Here they became known as “The Lost Boys of Sudan.” Over the years thousands were given asylum in other countries. “The Good Lie” tells the story of a small group of these Lost Boys who were brought to the US after spending 13 years in a refugee camp.
The first third of the film is a flashback revealing how this group came to be together. While the events of the Civil War and attempted genocide were horrendous the director chooses to hold back somewhat. A number of killings and other atrocities happen off screen so that we are aware of what happens, but not forced to watch it. The second third of the film jumps forward 13 years to tell of the remaining friends journey to the United States. One of the requirements to staying in the US is securing employment and repaying the cost of the flight over. They are assigned to an employment agency counselor, Carrie (Reese Witherspoon) who tries to help them acclimate to this strange new world. The middle of the film contains a lot of humor which helps temper the gravity of the first act. Most of this humor is derived from Fish-Out-Of-Water scenarios. Sometimes this type of humor can be played in a derogatory manner towards the outsider, painting them in a foolish light. Thankfully that is not the case in this film. Many times, it’s the American’s over-indulgent mentality that is the butt of the joke. Just contemplating the extreme culture shock these Lost Boys must have experienced is fascinating. Consider the broken piece of glass that is a treasured tool to this small band of brothers, but would be regarded as trash to everyone in this strange new world.
The meaning of the title isn’t revealed until the final third of the movie, but carries a significant amount of weight once it is, especially with its dual meaning. “The Good Lie” is another film that passes the audience through a series of emotions, but ultimately leaving us with a swelling heart.
4 out of 5 Stars