The Good Liar is directed by Bill Condon, and is based on Nicholas Searle’s novel. It stars Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren.
Elderly Roy Courtnay is a man in London in 2009 who has been committing cons over the course of his life, and he finds his next target in the form of Betty McLeish, a widow who has a fortune estimated to be worth over £2 million. Courtnay eases into an apparent relationship with McLeish, much to the dismay of her suspicious grandson, but will his con succeed? And is everything the way it seems between the two?
Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren are two fantastic entertainers, and seeing them united in a film is worth the price of admission alone. Their scenes together steal the show here, even if the overall film tries to reach a bit too far with its past histories and plot twists.
No one can deny that the sequences between McKellen and Mirren are what’s truly worth the price of admission in The Good Liar. When these two interact, there are plenty of entertaining moments, from the laugh-out-loud hilarious to the ones where you question their true motives, never knowing what might be lurking around the corner. The tonal shifts are certainly enough to catch any moviegoer off guard, but they only add to the charm of the film.
The problem here is that the movie, while I won’t deny that the specifics of the circumstances kept me guessing, has a fairly predictable outcome with a major plot twist more experienced cinephiles will likely see coming. The biggest issue is the motivations for these twists and for who Courtnay truly is, while entertaining, are just too much to cram into one movie, and it feels like the movie, with a running time shy of two hours, is simply trying to reach too far and do too much.
The Good Liar isn’t the best film you could go see in theaters these days, but you could do a lot worse too. The performances and chemistry of Mirren and McKellen make the movie, and are the reason to watch it. Moderately recommended.
Rating: Three stars out of four.
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