The Lie (a remake of 2015’s We Monsters) follows Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) and his daughter, Kayla (Joey King), on their way to dance camp. They stop to pick up Kayla’s best friend who is waiting to catch the bus to camp. When they stop so the girls can use the bathroom in the woods, Jay goes looking for them and finds Kayla sitting on a bridge. Kayla tells her father she pushed her best friend off the bridge to her death.
Jay and Kayla head to his ex wife’s job (played by Mireille Enos) and explain what happened. After the parents are confronted by the dead girl’s father, they decide to lie about what happened to the missing girl and work on an elaborate cover up.
As the story moves along and more details are revealed, the film does a great job making audiences wonder what the actual lie is.
Through this game of truth and lies, the standout performance comes from Joey King. Kayla is an annoying character that reacts to things the way a teenage girl would. Kayla also behaves like she’s hiding something but it’s not clear what it is. It’s just enough to keep audiences guessing.
The same goes for Sarsgaard and his portrayal of Jay. He does a good job making Jay seem a little untrustworthy. Jay seems like a good dad, but there’s something behind his eyes that seems shady. The story drops just enough breadcrumbs to make you doubt Jay and his motivations.
What’s not in doubt is what these parents are willing to do for their child. The answer would be THE MOST. The parents in peril are the meat of this story. Just when you think they couldn’t do anything dumber, they seem to top it 10 minutes later. Two divorced parents decide to get involved in criminal behavior to save their daughter from going to prison. They’re not the best at it. The realism of regular people struggling to be criminals is very much appreciated.
The Lie is an uneasy ride from beginning to end. It succeeds at making audiences uncomfortable with the characters and the decisions they make. It also makes you wonder you would do for you child? How far would you go?
The slow build until the end is worth the payoff. It will leave a lot of people with their mouths open and heads spinning. It’s the perfect thriller for a Halloween weekend.