With Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, memoir adaptation Wild and drama The Good Lie all on the way this year, Reese Witherspoon’s message to Hollywood seems pretty simple: Oscar, please. And though Wild is shaping up to be her best chance of snagging a Best Actress nomination, The Good Lie is definitely the most blatantly obvious attempt to pull at voters’ heartstrings.
In the first trailer for the movie, Witherspoon, her hair dyed brown, plays a fiery woman who takes in three Sudanese refugees (played by Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany and Emmanuel Jal) and attempts to reunite them with their sister (Nyakuoth Weil). Though her character is less than knowledgable about the backgrounds of the trio, actually mixing up her African countries, she eventually learns some life lessons from helping the refugees.
It’s all blandly inspirational stuff, and I’m worried that The Good Lie will turn out to be little more than another generic flick where the generous white person rescues all the helpless black people around them. There’s little need for movies like that in Hollywood. A story that focuses on the struggles of the refugees would be worth telling – all The Good Lie looks to be doing though is explaining how awesome Witherspoon’s protagonist is for not turning her back on them. Really? What kind of message does that send to the world about this country’s continued penchant for spinning foreign tragedies into small stories focusing on Americans? Oh well. Hopefully the Black List script by Margaret Nagle will at least give some attention to the foreign conflict that made the film’s Sudanese characters into refugees.
Corey Stoll co-stars in The Good Lie, which opens October 3rd.
They were known simply as “The Lost Boys.” Orphaned by the brutal Civil war in Sudan that began in 1983, these young victims traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety. Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America. In “The Good Lie,” Philippe Falardeau, (writer and director of the Oscar®- nominated Foreign Language film “Monsieur Lazhar”) brings the story of their survival and triumph to life. Academy Award® winner Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) stars alongside Sudanese actors Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and newcomer Nyakuoth Weil, many of whom were also children of war.