Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Good Lie uplifts and inspires with its profound simplicity

Movie:  The Good Lie

PG-13, 1 hour 52 minutes

Grade: A-

In a Nutshell:  It’s very touching to watch the lives of these “Lost Boys” (and girls) from Sudan unfold.  I wanted to adopt them all. It’s truly heart-breaking what they had to endure to survive, walking hundreds of miles barefoot in search of safety and meaning. I love that some of the actors were actually “Lost Boy” refugees themselves. You get to see their pictures at the end of the movie.    
The title of this simple, yet uplifting movie comes from a phrase in Mark Twain’s book Adventures of Huckleberry Finn .”  A night school teacher asks her class what it means.  One of the students responds “Huck uses lies to survive in undesirable situations.”  But the lies change later in the story. Mamere offers insight by explaining that the lies change because Huck changes.  “When he tells the slave hunters that he has no slaves, his lie is credible, so he lies well.  But what is more important is that it is an unselfish lie that saves Jim.  Jim’s freedom means more to him than the money he would get for turning him in, so it is a good lie.”  Before the end of the movie, there are several “good lies” that will both break and warm your heart.

Things I liked:
  • ·    The camera lingers on the actors’ faces so you can watch their emotions develop layers.
  • ·         I thought it was really cute when the young men from Sudan discovered the “Why did the chicken cross the road” joke and kept laughing about it later.
  • ·         I thought the movie was understated, especially considering the profoundly touching and powerful subject matter. Reese Witherspoon's character and role is also muted by the colorful story of the Lost Boys.

Things I didn’t like:
  • ·         I enjoyed the movie very much.  What I didn’t like was seeing some of the ugly sides of humanity.  The world is full of horror and beauty.  One of the great challenges in life is to focus on the good and create more of it to outweigh the bad.
  • ·         It would have been interesting to see more of how they lived in the refugee camp in Kenya for so many years.

Funny lines:
  • ·         “Your survival skills are most impressive.”  - Mamere
  •        “Um…thanks.”  - Carrie
  • ·         “May you find a husband to fill your empty heart and home.” – Mamere
  •        “I’ll work on that.”  - Carrie
  • ·         “Man, I wish they wouldn’t do that.”  -  Jack (when he sees the Sudanese young men holding hands)

Interesting lines:
  • ·         “I miss Sudan.”  - Jeremiah
  •       “Why?”   - Carrie
  •        “Because in Sudan you know what a lion looks like.”   - Jeremiah after dealing with a boss he disagrees with
  • ·         The movie ends with this line: “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  - African Proverb

Tips for Parents:
  • ·         Some stupid, lazy Americans introduce one of the sweet Sudanese young men to drugs. 
  • ·         It may be too slow-moving for young children, but teens can learn a lot about values, honor, Sudan, humanitarian aid, war, and sacrifice for others.
  • ·         This film will make you want to do more.  Your family may want to discuss how you can help other refugees.  There are many organizations online that you can look into, as well as local churches that offer aid to those in camps abroad and who have recently arrived in America.   
  • A lot of Americans get angry about all of the money and energy that is spent helping people abroad, especially when there are so many people in our own country who need help.  After you watch this movie, you'll be grateful that the good ole USA has done something to help ease suffering in the world.  It's an interesting and important question: Should we use our resources to help those outside our own boundaries and problems?  If we don't, who will?  
       To learn more about the refugee children of Sudan, check out these interesting stories:

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