Playing with borders of truth: A Movie Review on The Good Liar

by Matthew Escosia
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By Abegail Genova


Lying is a pretty bad habit but if it’s your way of living, you better be consistent because truths do catch on with its own pace. This is especially true in the movie directed by Bill Condon, “The Good Liar” which explores the consistency of lies and cover-ups made by the protagonist Ron Courtnay.

Con artist and professional swindler Ron Courtnay (Ian McKellen) meets a well-off widow Betty McLeish (Hellen Mirren) through an online site that connects old people. This event is very much a jackpot target for Roy as he learns of Betty’s financial status and goes all in with his acting to get involved and be endearing to Betty. But how far could Roy go with his deceit when everything seems to go smoothly with Betty being very kind and hospitable with him and things start to become a natural, comfortable thing that will be in the way of his scheme?

Under the genre of drama and thriller, these are five things I like about this movie:


Story within a story

The movie is a character-driven story that isn’t just one to simply take in and accept as the absolute truth from what is portrayed (we’re touching on a movie about a ‘liar’ after all!). There is more beyond what facades present and these are very well supported by the following elements of the movie.


Straightforward cinematography

Set mainly in the modern city of London, filmed with calm and warm, comfortable tones that would ground you into taking things as it is, the establishing shots clearly convey the setting.

For suspenseful scenes and an event of flashback, the scenes are given proper color treatments such as dimmer lighting and wash out, cool-toned filters and most importantly the camera focus on character expression which is definitely crucial for character-driven stories is a good highlight.


Story treatment

Character-driven stories can sometimes strike as boring when not treated properly. This movie definitely did it right with the sequence of scenes. Plotting of events are well placed, paced, and small scenes have a story to tell as bits of scenes have a role to play whether it is for foreshadowing or telling something about the character.


Brilliant acting

Roles need to convince viewers and whether you are acting as a character who is ‘acting’, it still has to be conveyed to the audience and Ian McKellen as Roy Courtney and Helen Mirren as Betty McLeish did exceptionally well in portraying their characters in this character-driven story.


 The amusement of guessing.

I personally do not pick up movies that do not keep my eyes wide open with horror or give eye-candy with animation and witty shot treatments but giving this movie a go was not a regret for me. I may not have been left in a constant state of alert like horror movies do but it definitely has kept my mind wondering where the events would lead to.

Overall, for a type of movie that isn’t my normal go-to genre, I don’t have anything that I dislike about the movie. Dashed with a bit of thrill and amusing twists, it is a laid-back watch with a bit of constant guessing.

A story nicely crafted with a cinematography that plays a part in leading you on, and with a title that would make you wonder: Is the liar good at lying? Or has the liar become good?

My rating: 4 out of 5 waves.

Surely, The Good Liar is a movie that you should give a try. Catch the movie in theaters starting November 27. Watch the trailer below:

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