The Dove Take:
The Good Liar portrays the idea of reaping what you sow through a dramatic encounter between two individuals with a shocking past. Because the film features lying as its primary theme along with other questionable material, it raises red flags when it comes to integrity.
Consummate con man Roy Courtnay has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish, worth millions. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes.
After meeting through an online dating service in 2009, Roy and Betty meet face to face for the first time at a restaurant in London. After a few dates, Roy reveals to Betty that he has a knee injury—and because his apartment is on the top floor of his building—Betty offers him a room at her own home—despite her grandson Steven’s disapproval.
The lies begin at the very beginning of the movie, with Betty and Roy both using fake names on their dating profiles. It later becomes clear that Roy’s knee problems are made up as well. Roy fabricates hospital visits and train rides in order to sneak off and conduct “business operations” with men who remain unnamed.
Roy’s first meeting is takes place at a scandalous strip club and is continued days later at another location. It is apparent that Roy, his business partner, Vincent, and two others, are working to scam the client by convincing him to invest in a program that will “double whatever he puts in.” After the client sends a large sum of money via an electronic transfer, a fake police raid takes place causing the client to flee and Roy and his partners to acquire all of the money.
As Roy and Betty grow closer to one another, Roy begins to set the stage to scam her. They take trips together, shop together, Roy cares for her in after a stroke, and eventually they consider investing all of their personal money into a joint trust that will multiply their assets. This fund is the platform Roy plans to use to steal all of Betty’s money.
Roy shows his true colors through the interactions he has with others behind Betty’s back—he kills the client he scammed in the beginning of the movie and has one of his partners beaten with a meat tenderizer when he asks for a larger portion of the income.
Steven meets Betty and Roy in Berlin while they are on vacation and begins to unravel a little bit of Roy’s history. Roy tries to cover up his past with World War II and his involvement with Nazis in Germany. The lies grow more and more prominent. Betty chooses to believe Roy over her grandson, and at that time Roy makes his move.
After both Roy and Betty transfer all of their money to a joint account, Roy leaves Betty’s home under the ruse that he is visiting his son that evening. His intention, however, is to steal all of the money in the account and never return. It is only after he moves nearly everything out of his apartment that he realizes Betty has stolen his tablet used for transferring the money. Roy quickly returns to Betty’s home to find it empty aside from a painting of lilies and a single chair where Betty is sitting. It is only then that Betty reveals her true identity and her motives for keeping it a secret.
The Good Liar contains a plot twist that is shocking to viewers. It must be noted, however, that there is a very apparent rape that takes place. Those who have dealt with such trauma in the past should be warned of its contents. In addition, each character has secrets from one another which contribute to the overarching theme of lying. While Betty—who reveals her true identity as Lili—does have reason to desire revenge on Roy—who is actually Han—for raping her when they were teenagers, the methods she goes about this lack integrity and morals.
The Good Liar is an astonishingly well-made film with brilliant sets and actors who really embrace their roles. The story is intriguing and keeps viewers on their toes and unsure of what will happen next. Regardless of the entertainment it provides, The Good Liar employs themes that are in direct conflict with the Bible and therefore The Good Liar is not Dove approved.