Adapted from a novel by Nicholas Searle and directed by Bill Condon, this movie set in London in 2009 takes us on a rollercoaster of events. Financial fraud fueled by greed, an attempt to defraud a widow, and unexpected historical findings concocts a delightful story full of twists and unpredictable developments.
Roy Courtney (Ian McKellen) and Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren) are seen at the beginning of the film filling out a dating site on the web. As expected they soon meet, and a friendship relationship starts, to the dismay of Betty’s grandson Steven (Russell Tovey). Roy is, in fact, a con man whom we see plotting a scheme with his friend Vincent (Jim Carter) which gave them and their accomplices, big profits at the expense of their targeted victim. So far nothing to feel bad about, both the plotters and the alleged victim of the scam were just motivated by greed, and the amounts of money involved were all obtained by illicit means as well.
The situation seems different in the case of Betty; she is a retired teacher who happens to own her own home, is a widow, and has assets for over three million pounds. For Roy, she is a vulnerable target. So he begins by approaching her with romantic intentions, although the relationship is kept at first as a purely friendly one. Eventually, they would take a trip together; he suggested the Costa del Sol. Still, she would convince him to go to Berlin instead. That trip to the German capital would, in turn, unleash a new series of events and revelations, first regarding Roy, but eventually Betty as well.
“The Good Liar” is a very entertaining movie, with a series of twists in a story where lies are the main protagonist. Both Mirren and McKellen, acclaimed veterans of the screen, deliver solid and convincing performances. This is a highly recommendable film. Running time: 109 min.
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