Some movies bring you to tears, while others make you think. Still others have you walking out of the theater feeling as if your life has been forever changed. And every once in a while, you find a movie that does all of the above. The Good Lie falls into this final category.
Directed by Philippe Falardeau and based on a story written by Margaret Nagle, this 2014 release tells the powerful story of child refugees from the war-torn nation of Sudan. After suffering the brutal realities of war while shockingly young, these “Lost Boys of Sudan” find their way to Kansas City. Those in the United States set out to change their lives, but everyone whose lives are touched by these courageous young men cannot help but be changed forever themselves.
As always, Reese Witherspoon captures the essence of a typical American “country girl” who struggles to make ends meet and thinks she has problems – until these unexpected visitors step into her life, that is. As talented as Witherspoon is, however, her character couldn’t help but fade into the background in the face of this gripping true story. I personally found myself in awe of the African actors in this film. Arnold Oceng, Kuoth Wiel, Emmanuel Jal, and Ger Duany all give wonderful performances as the children all grown up, but the child actors are the ones who will take your breath away. Their spoken lines may be few and far between, but one glance from their haunted eyes tells a story so deep, so powerful, that you will find it hard not to be moved to tears.
As a warning to Christian viewers, this is not a Christian film. It is generally clean, but the main characters most likely do not share your moral code and the film includes war violence, drinking, drug use, and the suggestion of promiscuity. You may want your older teens to view this in order to educate them on what is taking place in countries like Sudan around the world, but this film is not at all suited for younger children.
As a final disclaimer, you should not attempt to watch this film without an adequate supply of tissues on hand! My wife and I watched this on New Year’s Eve as we waited for the clock to strike twelve, and at one point we glanced at each other with tear-filled eyes. “Why did we do this to ourselves?” we cried. But it turned out to be a great way to start the new year, since this is the type of film that sticks with you and continually reminds you about what is most important in life.
Give it a try, and walk away unchanged… I dare you.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”