The Good Lie ***Dir: Philippe Falardeau. With: Reece Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Kuoth Wiel. 110 mins. Cert: 12A
The poster positions Philippe Falardeau’s follow-up to Monsieur Lazhar as the most turgid variety of soft-focus, Ron Howard-produced awards bait – legally blonde Reece Witherspoon rescues Sudanese refugees! In actuality, the film reserves its closest attention for its migrants, charting with sincerity and authenticity the journey of these so-called “Lost Boys” from war-ravaged homeland to a Kansas City that, with its Happy Meals and waffle houses, makes a banally abundant kind of Oz. Margaret Nagle’s spirited script steers away from the expected arcs and climaxes, instead making wry sport of the American Dream as a vaporous, ever-shifting concept shaped by profit motives, political bias and outright BS: Witherspoon’s late-arriving counsellor is but an overworked cog in an imperfect system, no more heroic than anybody else here. The rougher edges of an In This World or The Golden Dream were perhaps beyond its multiplex-oriented remit, yet Falardeau works in surprising levels of funny, winning, stirring detail.
The Good Lie opens in cinemas nationwide today.