Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Corey Stoll, Emmanuel Jal, Ger Duany, Kuoth Wiel DIRECTED BY
Philippe Falardeau SCREENPLAY
Margaret Nagle MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13 RUNNING TIME
110 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY
Warner Brothers SPECIAL FEATURES
"The Good Lie Journey", Deleted Scenes
The second of two performances from Reese Witherspoon to warrant awards consideration, The Good Lie is a good film that sadly got lost next to Witherspoon's showier, more market friendly turn in Wild, the performance that would eventually snag Witherspoon an Oscar nomination.
This film, however, shouldn't be ignored. Witherspoon leads a tremendous cast of Sudanese actors in a story that is somewhat familiar yet never ceases to inspire. In 1983, orphans of the civil war in Sudan, also known as The Lost Boys, traveled nearly a thousand miles on foot while enduring unspeakable circumstances in search of a safe haven. Over a decade later, a humanitarian effort brought thousands of these survivors to America. The Good Lie focuses on the true-to-life tale of four friends' journeys from their devastated homeland to the foreign world that is modern America, and the people who help empower them to begin their lives over again.
The Good Lie possesses such a richness of and a faith in humanity that it's practically impossible to watch the film without tearing up a bit and feeling a whole lot better about humans in general. You shouldn't think that The Good Lie skimps on the more challenging parts of the story - it doesn't. There are times in The Good Lie when you will be appalled at the inhumanity of humanity, but it is unquestionably a film that believes that goodness ultimately wins.
While it seem like The Good Lie is yet another "white savior" film, rest assured that it is not. The film, which suffered in this critic's opinion from poor marketing, is far more about the Sudanese themselves and Witherspoon's actual presence in the film may prove disappointing to Witherspoon fans who expect to see a film with her in it from beginning to end as she really only shows up a good 30-40 minutes into the proceedings. While Witherspoon's presence is important to the story, her presence most likely gave the film a better opportunity to shine than would have a film without a "big name."
Sad but true.
That's really sad, because the stories that unfold are compelling and beautifully brought to life by director Philippe Falardeau and courtesy of a moving script by Margaret Nagle. Martin Leon's original music gives the film an energy and spirit, while D.P. Ronald Plante's lensing is especially effective in the earlier parts of the film.
The Good Lie is now available on a DVD/Blu-ray combo, though extras are disappointingly sparse with only a "making of" featurette called "The Good Lie Journey" included along with the almost obligatory "deleted scenes."