THE GOOD LIAR Review — Expert Poker Faces Make an Interesting Play

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The Good Liar Review — Consummate pros Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen deal with a surprising script.

The Good Liar reviewThe Good Liar starts out amusingly and unexpectedly. When you have two esteemed actors like Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen, you’d think there would be slick international intrigue or eloquent Shakespearean dialogue. But no—we see two seniors in separate domestic settings, looking for love online.

The lying starts out from the get go, and you settle in for more wry surprises. To be fair, there are a good deal of them. And even if their weren’t, hello, it’s Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen! Watching them sleep would be entertaining.

But a flawed script gets in the way, making what could have been a great movie only meh. The problem lies in the third act, which hastily spins out of control with a discordant and disappointing reveal. It seems to come completely out of left field, and changes the entire tone of the movie.

Still it’s a pleasure to watch senior cinematic statesmen honor their craft. By night McKellen’s Roy is a courtly old codger who seems to be just looking for a companion with whom he can share his sunset years. By day, he’s a shifty grifter, in cahoots with his colleague Vincent (Jim Carter, or Mr. Carson to those of you who watch Downton Abbey).

When he meets Betty (Mirren) on line then in person, he feels he’s met his match…er…mark, and he plots an elaborate scheme to swindle her out of millions. But viewers are all too aware that no one casts Mirren as a doormat—you just know she’s got a trick or two up her sleeve, and is skillfully waiting to play it.

Mirren and McKellen are so sublime you can’t help but wish they’d paired up for the first time in a better vehicle. Two rights don’t exactly make a wrong here, but The Good Liar comes pretty darn close.

Rated  R

1 Hour 49 minutes

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The Good Liar Review — Consummate pros Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen deal with a surprising script.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

1 Comment

  1. […] big moment that so many are waiting for towards the end. Add to that a surprisingly moving turn from Ian McKellen as Gus the Theater Cat, and you more than make up for a little too much Judy Dench as Old […]

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