They were known simply as “The Lost Boys.”
Orphaned by the brutal civil war in Sudan, which 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 3,600 lost boys, as well as girls, to America.
Mamere and Theo are sons of the Chief in their village in Southern Sudan. When an attack by the Northern militia destroys their home and kills their parents, eldest son Theo is forced to assume the role of Chief and lead a group of young survivors, including his sister Abital, away from harm. But the hostile, treacherous terrain has other dangers in store for them. As the tattered group makes the difficult trek to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, they meet other fleeing children, forging a bond with Jeremiah, who, at 13, is already a man of faith, and Paul, whose skills become essential to their survival.
Thirteen years later, the now young adults are given the opportunity to leave the camp and resettle in America. Upon arriving in Kansas, they are met by Carrie Davis (Witherspoon), an employment agency counselor who has been enlisted to help find them jobs—no easy task, when things like light switches and telephones are brand new to them.
Although Carrie has successfully kept herself from any emotional entanglements, these refugees, who desperately require help navigating the 21st century and rebuilding their shattered lives, need just that. So Carrie embarks on her own unchartered territory, enlisting the help of her boss, Jack (Corey Stoll).
Reese Witherspoon had quite the year in 2014. In addition to her work in 'Wild', earlier this year, she starred in yet another film based on a true story called 'The Good Lie', which focused on the orphaned Sudanese children from South Africa, known as the Lost Boys, who came to America to start over and have a chance at a good life. Director Philippe Falardeau (who hasn't done much) directed from a script from Margaret Nagle (Boardwalk Empire) this sweet film that is mostly enjoyable, but never quite hikes over that mountain.
Maybe the reason is that this film is full of those usual emotional big moments that are full of cheese that you can't help but laugh when you should be shedding a tear. And this happens so often that it becomes more of a problem rather than an emotional journey. If producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard were on-set producers through the whole shoot, I'm sure things would have been handled differently. 'The Good Lie' follows four friends, Mamere (Arnold Oceng), Paul (Emmanuel Jal), Abital (Kuoth Wiel), and Jeremiah (Ger Duany), who were dealt a very bad hand growing up in their Sudanese village.
During the turmoil and war, these four kids were forced out of their homes along with thousands of other kids to walk thousands of miles in search of another home without the help from adults. These kids ended up in a refugee camp, which was not so good to put it lightly. While there for a a number years, they grew up, however America stepped in and allowed for some of these lost people to come to America to have a better life. Three of the four kids were all located to Kansas City, although the movie was shot in Atlanta, where Carrie (Reese Witherspoon), a fiery young woman starts to look after and help these "lost boys" transition into the American life by finding them jobs and places to stay.
From here, Witherspoon takes center stage as she struggles with dealing with this new aspect of her life. While she seems bothered at first by these four guys, the usual cheesy melodramatic plot points turn her into the woman with the heart of gold. It's just something that we've seen done a million times before, and here, it has a high cheese factor in certain moments. That being said, there are some great characters with some very funny moments throughout. And even though the story has more than enough big dramatic emotional moments that stink of cheese, for the most part, the film is satisfying to a certain degree.
The sudanese actors are all excellent here and do a good job showing the emotional stress their characters went through and what their struggling with by being in America and away from their homeland. Witherspoon also turns in a great performance, but it seems a tiny bit over-the-top. And Corey Stoll (House of Cards) steals every scene he's in. 'The Good Lie' isn't the most powerful film to tell this story we've seen before, but it should satisfy the family friendly crowd.
'The Good Lie' comes with a good 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image overall looks great, but it has a few minor inconsistencies. The detail is quite sharp and vivid throughout, revealing some fine textures and facial features, including wrinkles, makeup blemishes, and individual hairs. The wider shots of the African landscapes look amazing, although there is some grain that pops up from time to time that tends to fluctuate. Also, these wider shots are a bit softer in look as well.
Colors pop very well throughout, giving the image a very bright and lively picture. The reds, oranges, greens, and blues all look beautiful. The skin tones are natural and the black levels are deep and inky throughout, even during the lower lit scenes. There were no instances of any banding or aliasing to speak of, however, there was just a hint of video noise, but it's nothing to write home about, leaving this video presentation with solid marks.
The release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and it sounds great. This soundscape is quite good and I was surprised oh immersive this audio track was. From the start, the audio kicks into high gear with a helicopter flying over a bunch of people with explosions and gun fire. The directionality here is amazing and the sound effects are robust, lively, and full. The sub packs a powerful punch here too. After the beginning, things settle down for the most part for the rest of the film, despite a few other bigger moments.
Ambient noises are natural and full and the rest of the sound effects whether it be more gun fire, vehicles passing by, or people chattering. all sound great. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow at all times without any instances of pops, cracks, or hissing. The score always adds to the tone emotional drama of the film without drowning out any dialogue or sound effects. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is very wide, leaving this audio presentation with top marks.
'The Good Lie' Journey (HD, 17 Mins.) - This is more or less a better than average promo reel for the film. The cast and crew discuss making the film, their thoughts on the true-life story this was based on, and to shoot on location overseas.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 16 Mins.) - There are a whopping 15 deleted scenes here with a bit more character development with the main roles. Other than that, you can see why these were left on the cutting room floor.
'The Good Lie' isn't a perfect film, but it has its moments. The acting and direction are quite good, and that's what keeps this film moving forward. The main problem here is with its cheese factor that happens too often and its inability to focus on a cohesive plot and goal. That being said, there is still enough here that warrants a viewing. The video presentation is good and the audio is even better. Although the extras are not as good as I had hoped and are quite sparse. In the end, this movie is worth seeing, but maybe just once. So give it a rent first before making a final decision.