Monday, October 6, 2014

The Good Lie

A rather bad lie precedes "The Good Lie" into theaters: its misleading advertising campaign, which suggests a Sudanese "The Blind Side" with Reese Witherspoon in the Sandy Bullock part of the white savior.

Thankfully, director Philippe Falardeau keeps his focus where it should be, on the three "Lost Boys" and one girl who flee the civil war of their homeland, walk to Ethiopia, then Kenya, spend ten years in a refugee camp, and are finally chosen for relocation to America. The action scenes - of war and other dangers faced by the four on their thousand-mile trek - are confusing and poorly staged; some of the fish-out-of-water comedy upon their arrival (misapprehension of idiomatic phrases, unfamiliarity with the telephone) is admittedly corny; and a late flurry of positive developments feels rushed. 

Still, the true story (there were 3,600 "Lost Boys" before flights out of refugee camps screeched to a halt after 9/11) is compelling and moving, and the makeshift "family" of four highly ingratiating (Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, Nyakouth Wiel, and especially Arnold Oceng deserve credit). It probably took Witherspoon's name to get the picture greenlit, but she's winningly self-deprecating in a relatively small part as the boys' employment agent and has a very funny scene with Sarah Baker (from whom we'll be hearing more) as the rep of the faith-based charity that brings them to the U.S.

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