Written and Directed by Veena Sud
Screenplay based on We Monsters by Marcus Seibert, Sebastian Ko
Starring Mireille Enos, Peter Sarsgaard, Joey King, Devery Jacobs, Cas Envar
The plot to The Lie should be a lesson on parenting. If it were better, it could teach people about the fallacy of protecting the future of one’s child no matter the cost. Rebecca and Jay (Enos and Sarsgaard) are a divorced parents who share custody of their daughter Kayla (King). Jay is in the process of taking Kayla to a dance retreat when she convinces him to pick up her friend heading the same direction.
In the brief ride that follows, we get an unusual and uncomfortable feeling. The friend is a flirt. Kayla seems perturbed. Jay notices a bruise on her friend’s chin. Then Britney convinces Jay to pull over so she can go to the restroom Kayla follows. They take too log and Jay goes to investigate.
The result is Kayla alone on a bridge with no trace of Britney. Before her father can start an extensive search, Kayla confides in her father that she pushed her friend from the bridge.
The real story begins as first one, then both parents conspire to protect their child from the consequences of her actions. Making things worse, Kayla seems indifferent to the whole experience.
Enos and Sarsgaard are believable in their stressed out desperation. It’s plain to see how they work well together, and why they split up. Their decisions on their own suck. Eventually they get to the point were their collective decisions are as bad.
Of course there are pieces of evidence scattered about. I can’t think I have ever seen an inhaler that is not strategically lost in a movie. The more we see them trying to undo their previous move, the clearer it is their next ill-advised move will lead to their discovery.
The big surprise could get a few people. Unfortunately, I have seen more than enough of this type of story the ending glows like neon.
Those who’ve seen either of the leads in other films will recognize their performances here. Enos is pretty much the same character she plays in director Sud’s TV show The Killing. King I had not seen since Ramona and Beezus. No one’s performance is exactly memorable, but neither is the plot.
How one reacts to The Lie will depend on how far along they ride with its conceit. My daughter wandered in about 10 minutes after we started and finished. She didn’t love it but she rarely sits in one place that long.
Half way through, she asked if we’d ever try to cover up if she or her sister had done something heinous.
“For you,” I said, “No way. Your sister, yes.”
Her mother and I at least enjoyed that much.
(** out of *****)