The Good Lie, movie review

I cry at the movies.  Anyone who’s ever gone to a movie with me knows that.  I can even cry through the same movie twice.  I cried through War Horse the movie.  I cried through War Horse the stage play.  Then I cried through War Horse the book.  I even cry in funny movies.  But Saturday night I cried through a movie that has moved me like no other movie in a long time.  It was showing at a Rainbow Cinema, part of the Magic Lantern Theatres that offer movies at a cheaper rate once they’ve done the rounds at the regular cinemas.  Except I don’t remember seeing it listed anywhere before.  Either it never did the regular rounds or the title just didn’t catch my eye.  It was called The Good Lie and I had to do some googling around to find out what it was about before I decided to go and see it.  Here’s the best write-up I found:

After their village is destroyed and their parents killed by Northern militia, Sudanese orphans Theo, his siblings and other survivors make a difficult journey to a refugee camp in Kenya. Thirteen years later, the group gets the chance to settle in the U.S.   They are met in Kansas by Carrie Davis (Reese Witherspoon), who has been charged with finding them jobs. However, seeing how adrift they are in 20th-century America, Carrie endeavors to help them in rebuilding their shattered lives.  (

GoodLieI wasn’t prepared by that write-up to see the attack on Theo’s village and the long trek they had to make across the sub-Sahara trying to find safety; safety from soldiers trying to kill or capture them, from wild animals also seeking food, and from the dry hostile environment of their world.  Theo (played by Femi Oguns) became chief when his father was killed in the village.  A younger brother, Daniel, dies.  They make two friends along the way, Jeremiah and Paul.  They take courage from reading a Bible Theo’s sister, Abital (played by Kuoth Wiel), carries with her.  Theo surrenders himself to soldiers so the others will go unnoticed and free.  Then the next brother in line, Mamere (played by Arnold Oceng), becomes chief.

reese-witherspoon-the-good-lie-filming-after-arrest-02It is 13 years from when their village is destroyed until they arrive in the United States.  They have no understanding of western ways — telephones, McDonalds, throwing away food with an expiry date instead of feeding the poor.  Meanwhile, they are all haunted by their memories and the fate of Theo.  This is where Carrie Davis (Reese Witherspoon) steps in.  As an employment agency worker, she usually keeps an emotional distance from her clients but with these boys and the sister who is sent to Boston because a sponsor family couldn’t be found in Kansas City, she finds herself drawn into helping them get their lives together, not just finding work.

The-Good-Lie-3This story is inspired by the  3600 “Lost Boys” brought to the United States in the year 2001 prior to 9/11 and the people who helped them make new lives for themselves and their families.  Several of the actors were these lost boys coming to freedom and peace in their new world.  There are lots of things I haven’t told you about this movie that you will find touching and wonderful.  I didn’t know where the title came from until about 2/3 way through the movie.  It comes from Mark Twain and Huck Finn; perhaps you’re familiar with it.  I cannot tell you how much you will love this movie.  There is nothing trivial about it; it is an amazing story of hope nurtured out of the brutality of war against children.  Take some tissues with you. * * * * *



About mysm2000

Having taught elementary school for more than 25 years and been involved in many amazing technology and curriculum projects, I find I've developed a myriad of interests based on literature I've read and music I've heard. I've followed The Wright Three to Chicago, Ansel Adams to Colorado, The Kon Tiki Expedition to Easter Island, Simon & Garfunkel lyrics to New York City, Frank Lloyd Wright to Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, and have only just begun.
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