One of the popular films at TIFF this year, The Good Lie is not your average American-woman-saves-the-day kind of film. The Good Lie brings to life the heartbreaking, true story of the orphans of the 1983 civil war in Sudan who endured circumstances that are hard to imagine, let alone withstand. We are taken into the lives of four friends – from their childhood in Sudan, where they traveled over thousand miles on foot in search of refuge, to their journey to America.
The first half of the film moves you with compassion for the young Sudanese children who have to fend for themselves – from the soldiers and from lack of food and water. This is when we are introduced to four youngsters – Mamere, Jeremiah, Paul and Abital, Mamere’s sister. They struggle to survive together using the limited resources at their disposal. They eventually arrive at the Kakuma refugee camp and create a life for themselves.
After 13 years, three of the Lost Boys — Mamere (Arnold Oceng), Jeremiah (Ger Duany) and Paul (Emmanuel Jal) — are sent to Kansas City and Abital (Kuoth Wiel), is sent to Boston. This is another loss that they unwillingly accept. The three boys are taken under the wing of social aid worker Carrie, played by Reese Witherspoon.
As the boys enter the America, we look at the world through their eyes. Modern equipment and the way of living surprises them. For instance, they are stunned when they find out Carrie provides for herself and doesn’t rely on a man. Discoveries like telephones, pizza and ice are a mystery to them. Carrie helps them find a job but what seems to trouble them is losing Apital and Theo, Marmere’s older brother who surrendered himself to the soldiers to save his brothers when they were young.
Living in the West, it’s easy to forget how privileged we are. Looking at the world through the eyes of these Lost Boys, this film will inspire you to be grateful and compassionate. The relationships forged are what matter the most and director Philippe Falardeau couldn’t deliver this message more powerfully.
Falardeau has portrayed the traumatic experiences of the Lost Boys with mere simplicity. He has powerfully staged the setting to invite the audiences into their lives. The Sudanese actors take away the story with more screen time than leading lady Reese Witherspoon. After all, it was their story to tell and for that, Falardeau deserves due credit. Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany and Emmanuel Jal delivered praise-worthy performances. They took inspiration from their own personal life experiences, which were similar to the hardships of their characters. For her part Reese Witherspoon certainly gives a notable performance while delivering the true story to the audiences.
Overall, this was not another Blind Side movie but a powerfully captivating and heartbreaking tale that will have you laughing and crying. Also releasing on DVD/Blu-ray today are: Dr. Cabbie, Swearnet, Pride and The Trip to Italy. ~Marriska Fernandes