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TIFF Review: The Lie

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How far would you go to protect your child?  It’s the question that Canadian director Veena Sud (probably best known for developing The Killing) tries to answer in The Lie, a new drama/thriller that demonstrates how everything can change in an instance.

We are introduced to Kayla (Joey King) through home videos that show her growing up as part of a happy family alongside her mother Rebecca (Sud reunited with The Killing star Mireille Enos) and Jay (Peter Sarsgaard).  Fast forward to her teens and Kayla’s parents are now divorced, an event from which she never quite recovered.  When Jay drives his daughter to a ballet retreat out of town they run into a friend of hers, Britney, and decide to give her a ride.  But something happens between these girls at a remote rest stop at the side of the road and Britney doesn’t come back.  Scared for what will happen to his daughter, who could be implicated in her disappearance, Jay makes the decision to drive away.  From there the family learns just how quickly one lie leads to another and things quickly snowball out of control.

Appropriately told amongst the backdrop of a cold, bleak Toronto winter (standing in for New York), The Lie may get too frustrating for some.  Let’s be clear – absolutely no one makes good decisions in this film.  And one can’t help but wonder how this story could have been told a little less absurdly if they were a little more well thought out. I would also make an argument for the film being one scene too long, needlessly explaining some character motivation that has been easily alluded to throughout.  That said, if you follow the characters’ flawed logic and go along for the ride this drama can be an enjoyable watch, even with the frustration that you may want to throw at each person’s preposterous choices.

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