In theatres this Friday from director Philippe Falardeau and writer Margaret Nagle comes a film about starting a new life with THE GOOD LIE.
This film tells the story of a group of Sudanese children from a local village. Being together with their respective families was a life the children loved. When the war comes to their village in 1983, the villages are slaughtered leaving the children to fend for themselves.
Mamere and Theo lived in a village of the Southern Sudan. When they Northern militia takes everything, Theo leads his brother Mamere and sister Abital across horrible and devastating terrain to reach a refugee camp in Kenya. Along they way they meet Jeremiah and Paul. When Theo is taken from the group, Mamere must take over and lead the children to safety.
Once in Kenya, they live in the refugee camp for 15 years until there names are finally called to be part of the 3,600 lost boys and girls who are taken to the United States. Once there they meet Carrie (Reese Witherspoon), as a counselor for the boys she helps them find jobs and a place to live.
Mamere (Arnold Oceng), Paul (Emmanuel Jal) and Jeremiah (Ger Duany) are taken to Kansas City but Abital (Kuoth Wiel) must live with another family far away from the boys. They make a pact that they will work hard to be reunited once again.
Some pacts are forged on faith!
FINAL WORD: Oceng as Mamere is truly amazing. His heart is so filled with sorrow yet he is kind and wise. He treats everyone he meets with such dignity and respect that it’s almost embarrassing because it’s hard to see that in people lately. This actor has nothing but love for his family, his siblings and adopted siblings, hoping for a life that is worthy of being a Chief’s son! I loved his performance.
Duany as Jeremiah lives the words of the Bible but in such a subtle and beautiful way it is angelic. Knowing what is right and refusing to veer away from it gave me a reason to respect this character so much and Duany for giving him such a fantastic smiling face and loving heart.
Jal as Paul is the young man who just can’t seem to find his way. Taken off the path by those who obviously didn’t bother to get to know him, the confrontation between Jal and Mamere is unfortunate. Wiel as Abital learns to adjust to her new home away from her brothers but stays in touch holding on to the belief that she will come back to them!
Witherspoon as Carrie really didn’t need to be in the film. There isn’t anything here that I could get around other than her being curt and irritated with people you are suppose to be helping. Just isn’t really what I wanted to see. She does mellow out a bit and becomes the heroine but I just don’t fall in line with it. Sorry Reese, nothing personal.
Other cast include: Sarah Baker as Pamela, Lindsey Garrett as Jenny, and Corey Stoll as Jack.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE GOOD LIE three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. The children who begin the film (Mongok, Jale, Dueth, and Ajuet) do such a heart wrenching job of portraying the beginning of the tale and journey to Kenya. It was seriously emotional for the audience at the San Diego Film Festival to watch.
Added to that are the performances of Oceng, Jal and Duany totally making this film worth watching. There is such humor and wide eyed innocence at, what must seem like the silliness that happens in the United States. From throwing away perfectly good food to our love of pizza, these actors give us every moment of that experience to treasure.
The cinematography in the films beginning story is beautiful and sad at the same time. Director Falardeau brings us into the experience so that every drop of emotion is taken from the viewer – but I think it’s more that we give it willingly. Invested in these young men’s lives, the audience wants to see a happy ending and I can only guarantee that they will get an ending that requires tissue so have it handy.
In the end – miracles are made by people who refuse to stop believing!