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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Good Lie - Movie Review


The Good Lie, a story about Sudanese refugees who relocate to Kansas, is directed by Philippe Falardeau and was written by Margaret Nagle. The movie stars Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stoll, Sarah Baker, and Arnold Oceng along with Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and Kuoth Wiel all of whom are actual refugees from Sudan.


Mamere, Jeremiah, Paul, and Abital have seen some incredibly frightening things during their lives in Sudan. From having their village attacked and burned down to watching their friends and countrymen die at the hands of soldiers, they have been very fortunate to have made it through a life riddled with danger at every turn. After settling in a Kenyan refugee camp for many years, their names finally come up on the list of people chosen to make the journey to America and all the freedoms it has to offer. When the group arrives stateside, they quickly realize things may be more difficult than they had imagined although they are given some assistance by a young woman named Carrie (Witherspoon) who starts out as their job placement counselor but ends up helping them in more ways than she ever thought she would.


Director, Philippe Falardeau does a good job of putting together a movie that must show you two very distinct stories from the group's time in Sudan where the only concern is living to see the next day to their time in America where they are forced to deal with the reality of living in a more "civilized" world. The characters are all extremely likable and you can't help but rooting for them whether they are running from soldiers as children or standing up for their beliefs against grocery store managers and immigration employees.


The two main actors you will recognize in this film are Reese Witherspoon and Corey Stoll both of whom turn in very solid performances. Their characters are also very likable, which is generally an easy task for these two anyway, although I was even more impressed with how they let the other cast members really shine in their roles. As mentioned before, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and Kuoth Wiel were all refugees themselves at one time so it was very interesting to see the real life experience they were able to apply to these roles. What I liked most was the genuinely humble, honest, and appreciative nature of the characters they portrayed which I imagine are all natural traits they possess anyway.


The Good Lie is a movie you will enjoy very much. The early scenes in Sudan really do a good job of showing the struggle and imminent danger without being too graphic or jarring and the rest of the story that unfolds here in America is classic "fish out of water" storytelling. If you are looking for a movie that the entire family can watch that is as educational as it is entertaining, I believe this would be a great option to check out.




 


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