Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Movie Review: ‘The Good Lie’

COLLIDER.COM Reese Witherspoon stars as  a counselor alongside Sudanese actor Ger Duany in 'The Good Lie.'
COLLIDER.COM
Reese Witherspoon stars as a counselor alongside Sudanese actor Ger Duany in ‘The Good Lie.’

★★★★☆

“The Good Lie” is a heart-warming story that highlights the strength of family bonds amid unimaginably difficult circumstances, touching audiences with strong performances, a unique plot and an uplifting ending.

The film begins in a small village in Sudan, where the children play peacefully among the small trees in the savanna. This calm atmosphere is soon obliterated by a group of rebels, who set the village ablaze and kill everyone in sight. A group of children escapes the attack and finds temporary safety in the shadow of a tree. After returning to find that their parents have been murdered, the children decide to hike across the country toward Ethiopia, where they believe they will find safety. The journey is extremely grueling as dehydration and illness take their toll on various members of the group.

The children soon arrive at the Ethiopian border only to find refugees fleeing toward Kenya. After the eldest child, Theo, is taken by a group of rebels, the four remaining children must make their way to a Kenyan refugee camp. “Brothers” Mamere (Arnold Oceng), Jeremiah (Ger Duany), Paul (Emmanuel Jal) and their “sister,” Abital (Kuoth Wiel) live at the camp for over a decade before receiving salvation. The group is provided fully paid airfare to Kansas City, Mo., and is promised assistance in starting a new life.

Arriving in America is certainly a shock for these young adults. Abital, Mamere’s biological sister, is separated from the group due to the organization’s rules regarding young female refugees. Upon the boys’ arrival in Missouri, a counselor named Carrie (Reese Witherspoon) briskly drops them off at their apartment without much of a warm welcome.

But as the “Lost Boys of Sudan” (as they are dubbed) adapt to American society, Carrie warms to their kind spirits and unfailing good natures. There are great, humorous scenes where the boys display their complete lack of knowledge about what others believe are day-to-day conveniences: such as electricity, running water and even ice. These lighthearted moments help the audience temporarily forget the trauma and heartache that these boys have undoubtedly experienced. These scenes make a potentially unsettling and, frankly, depressing movie uplifting and inspirational.

The performances in this film, particularly those by “Lost Boys” Oceng, Duany and Jal, are stellar. They evoke authentic emotions and make the audience fall in love with the boys’ vibrant, positive spirits. Arnold Oceng is especially captivating as Mamere and portrays an impressive amount of depth and internal conflict.

The film is directed by Philippe Falardeau and written by Margaret Nagle, a prominent television writer who has recently been involved in the new series “Red Band Society” (starring Octavia Spencer).

The movie’s formula is not original: a transition from heartache to heart-warming positivity. It highlights the dark, tumultuous experiences the boys had in Sudan before depicting the happiness and hope that can be achieved through strong family bonds and perseverance. A few bittersweet moments are borderline cliche, but they do not detract from the overall quality of the movie.

“The Good Lie” successfully connects the viewer to its characters. The audience roots for their successes and ultimately celebrates their victories. Although this film is optimistic, it still highlights the hopelessness felt by the thousands of other refugees who are not offered salvation. Audiences feel for those who are left behind and denied the opportunities afforded to the movie’s fortunate main characters.

Overall, this film is a powerful depiction of hope amid suffering and family bonds that cannot be broken. Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster: This film is a must-see for anyone seeking a moving, engaging and uplifting experience.

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