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Blu-ray Review The Good Lie Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)


Senior HTF Member
Feb 20, 2001
Livonia, MI USA
Real Name
Kenneth McAlinden
The Good Lie Blu-ray Review

The Good Lie dramatizes the experiences of a group of child refugees orphaned and driven from their homes in South Sudan by the civil war in 1983. While the movie's promotional material prominently features actress Reese Witherspoon (who gives an outstanding performance), the focus of the movie remains squarely on a group of lesser known and first time actors of Sudanese descent who convincingly play the Sudanese "Lost Boys" over a span of almost two decades.

Studio: Warner Brothers

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Rating: PG-13

Run Time: 1 Hr. 50 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet

Standard sized Blu-ray case with hubs on both sides to accommodate two discs with cardboard slipcover

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), DVD-9 (dual layer)

Region: A, 1

Release Date: 12/23/2014

MSRP: $35.99

The Production Rating: 4/5

The Good Lie

Directed by: Philippe Falardeau

Starring: Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stoll, and Kuoth Wiel

The Good Lie examines the plight of a group of "Lost Boys" driven from their homes in South Sudan by a civil war in the early 80s. The first third of the film follows a group of five children forced to flee their homes when their parents are slaughtered by soldiers. They trek hundreds of miles while trying to avoid being captured or killed seeking refuge in Ethiopia, only to be turned away and forced on another trek of several hundreds of miles to Kenya. Along the way, they meet children from other tribes and suffer a major casualty. The film then cuts eighteen years in the future to find the adult Mamere (Oceng), Jeremiah (Duany), Paul (Jal), and Mamere's sister Abital (Wiel) still living in the Kenyan refugee camp They learn that they will have the chance to relocate to the United States courtesy of sponsorship by American humanitarian organizations. A bureaucratic snafu results in Abital being sent to a family in Boston and separated from her brother and fellow tribesmen who are sent to live in Kansas City. With help from American case worker Carrie (Witherspoon) and her supervisor Jack, Mamere, Jeremiah, and Paul struggle to adjust life in the United States, rise above their personal trauma, and reunite their family.

Director Philippe Falardeau does an outstanding job of balancing the tone of the film, mixing elements of violence, pathos, sentiment, and fish out of water humor along with actors of widely varying levels of experience without ever striking a false, preachy or cliched note. Hollywood has a tendency to pour the sentiment on thick when it comes to inspirational stories, but The Good Lie is an example of admirable restraint. There are numerous points throughout the film where viewers familiar with other Hollywood dramatizations of tragic historical events will likely be telling themselves "so this is where the movie is going", only to be pleasantly surprised when their expectations are exceeded.

The focus of the movie remains squarely on authentically representing the experiences of the Sudanese refugees. When necessary plot contrivances provide the film its dramatic momentum, they never get in the way of the characters at the film's heart and the significance of the recent historical events at the film's center. The feeling of verisimilitude is enhance by the casting of several actors of Sudanese descent in key roles in the film. Reese Witherspoon and Corey Stoll give solid and ego-free performances in what amount to supporting roles.

"The Good Lie" Playlist

Video Rating: 5/5  3D Rating: NA

The film is presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio that approximates its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The 1080p AVC encoded presentation renders the film's digital cinematography beautifully. Clarity and resolution are stellar throughout. While the scenes set in Africa look distinctly different than those set in the United States, director Philippe Falardeau and Cinematographer Ronald Plante eschew heavy filtering or image manipulation for a subtly pleasing effect.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5

The film's 5.1 audio mix is presented via a lossless DTS-HD MA track that shows a surprising amount of punch and immersion for a dialog heavy drama. The early scenes depicting the chilling and harrowing events of the civil war in South Sudan are the most engaging and dynamic. During the quieter, more dramatic scenes in the films final two-thirds, the musical score is the primary beneficiary of the lossless encoding. Alternate Dolby Digital 5.1 language tracks are presented in French and Spanish.

Special Features Rating: 3/5

When the disc is first played ,the viewer is greeted with the following set of skippable promos:
  • Dolphin Tale 2 Home Video Trailer
  • Hillsong: Let Hope Rise Theatrical Trailer
  • PSA for UNICEF The Good Lie Fund
Proper extras accessible from the disc's Special Features menu include a modestly informative featurette and a generous collection of deleted scenes.

The Good Lie Journey (16:19) Looks at the movie's themes, its historical basis, the unusual casting process, the cast, Director Philippe Falardeau, and Shooting in Africa. On camera comments come from Producer Ron Howard, Producer Molly Smith, Screenwriter Margaret Nagle, Producer Trent Luckinbill, Reese Witherspoon (“Carrie Davis”), Producer Brian Grazer, Director Philippe Falardeau, Arnold Oceng (“Mamere”), Producer Thad Luckinbil, Casting Director Mindy Marin, Ger Duany (“Jeremiah”), Emmanuel Jal (“Paul”), Nyakuoth Wiel (“Abital”), Executive Producer Kim Roth, and Producer Karen Kehela Sherwood.
Deleted Scenes (15:04) consist of 16 deleted or extended scenes including additional plot exposition, character moments, and a couple of completely deleted subplots:
  • Young Mamere looks for his father and discusses the soldiers with others in his village
  • Carrie walks into an elevator, but Mamere, Jeremiah, and Paul do not follow her
  • Mamere, Jeremiah, and Paul explore their new kitchen
  • Carrie discusses Mamere, Jeremiah, and Paul with a superior while on a cell phone while in their bathroom
  • Mamere inquires about how to register for college classes
  • Mamere helps customers with a medical issue at a store where he is stocking shelves and talks to a co-worker named Jenny
  • Carrie helps Abital get settled in her house
  • Mamere is orally interviewed for his pre-med undergraduate application
  • Mamere receives a Christmas present from Jenny
  • Mamere discusses his upcoming trip and Jenny with Jack
  • After being seated on an airplane, Mamere discovers a note from Jack and a large amount of cash stashed in a book.
  • Mamere goes to see Carrie in the Hospital after a surgery and gives the doctor some advice about her care.
  • Mamere leaves Carrie’s hospital room ro find Abital, Jeremiah, and Paul sleeping on abench in the corridor.
  • Mamere inspects some grave sites and their markings in Africa
  • Mamere visits an infirmary looking for his brother and is reunited with Doctor Monyang
  • Mamere purchases immigration papers in Nairobi and later shows them to Doctor Monyang
SD DVD This Blu-ray combo edition also includes a DVD including a standard definition presentation of The Good Lie with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in English, French, and Spanish with available subtitles in English SDH, French, and Spanish. When the SD DVD is first played, the viewer is greeted with the following set of skippable promos:
  • Dolphin Tale 2 Home Video Trailer
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Theatrical Trailer
  • IMAX: Island of Lemurs Madagascar Home Video Trailer
  • Hillsong: Let Hope Rise Theatrical Trailer
  • PSA for UNICEF The Good Lie Fund
The same set of Deleted Scenes that appear on the Blu-ray are accessible from the DVD Special Features menu.

Overall Rating: 4/5

The Good Lie is a refreshingly low key inspirational drama inspired by the Lost Boys orphaned by the Sudanese civil war of the early 80s that deftly mixes heart and humor. The filmmakers and cast exhibit admirable restraint and dedication to their characters and historical basis. It is presented on Blu-ray with near reference quality audio and video and a modest pair of special features.

Reviewed By: Ken_McAlinden

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