The Good Liar (2019)
Directed by Bill Condon
Starring Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen and Russell Tovey
By Tim Basaraba
Is seventy the new fifty? With a combined age of over one hundred and fifty years, can battling Brits Mirren and McKellen keep millennials, boomers and every gen-in-between entertained?
What starts as an obvious set up for some serious grifting (Think Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or the underrated Brother Bloom) turns into something completely different by the third act. Sir Ian and Dame Helen spare us no gradient of their honed acting range, and, at times, their friendship seems so true and unforced that I forgot The Good Liar was a film about conning the unsuspected.
Director Bill Condon may have had carte blanche to adapt anything within reason after the HUGE success of his live action Beauty and the Beast (2017), but it feels like he chose Nicholas Searle’s novel after reading the back cover in an airport terminal. There are twists and turns; some feel cheesy while others genuinely surprise. It’s like a geriatric Guy Ritchie film, which may be part of its appeal. I think The Good Liar could end up a cult favorite after its theater run.
With strong performances by the leads plus an overall fun and “oh it’s over too soon” vibe, seventy may indeed be the new fifty!
Of course boomers will love this film. And what better way for millennials to say “OK, Boomer” than by walking out of the theater and turning on their phones in the lobby so they can fade into their “safer” reality.
If Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Brother Bloom are a B+, then The Good Liar is a B-.