Film Review – “The Good Lie”

Good Lie Pic



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.”

James 1:27

8 thoughts on “Film Review – “The Good Lie”

  1. My husband and I saw this movie a few days ago and completely agree with your review. After we watched it, we knew that our hearts were changed forever. The movie was done incredibly well, the acting was superb, and the story is humbling, mind boggling, and inspirational.

    To think that we, as a culture, complain about being “offended” or not receiving our “fair share” of one thing or another, or complain that we do not have enough…after watching this movie about ‘The Lost Boys of Sudan” our hearts were filled with love, compassion, and the true simple beauty of life…along with a twinge of shamefulness for all that we take for granted as a people and a country.

    Thank you for sharing about this movie. I posted your blog on my FB site:-)


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing my review with your Facebook friends… I do appreciate it!

      I think you’re exactly right about the message of this film, too. We tend to focus on all the things we don’t have, while none of us have had to endure even a fraction of what these children went through. It really puts things into perspective!


  2. John this is a compelling review! Well done. I do not seem to have much time these days for films. So if I do watch one, I definitely appreciate it if it speaks to what’s important in life…. thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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