Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Good Lie

Sacrificial Love
by Jan McLure

 Movie Review of
The Good Lie

Director:  Phillippe Falardeau
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, Corey Stoll, Kouth Wiel

The Good Lie is a very well done film that is based on the true story of the civil war in Sudan that disrupted and ended millions of lives.   It also shows the humanitarian effort that began in 2000 to resettle the young refugees to the United States.   These refugees also came to be known as the "Lost Boys" (and girls); however this effort was immediately halted after 9/11.

This film is about faith, hope and love, and the greatest of all is love.  Sacrificial love. Be ready to be challenged. And it is well worth it.

In the film, we see the journey of four orphans as they walk to a refuge camp thousands of miles away.  The camera shows us a way of life that's very different from the United States and other developed nations.  We also see the ugliness and the tragedies of war.  The film begins with  “we didn't know that the world was big, that it was different from us.”  I am afraid that most of us are also unaware of the world outside our own, and this film nudges the audience to think about what is outside of their normal awareness. 

The movie begins with a brief overview of the Sudanese civil war.  We see a family’s village obliterated by bombs and foot soldiers.  There are many young children who are orphaned, and we follow one family on their horrendous thousand-mile journey over deserts, with little food and water, and without shoes.  We feel their pain and yet, the whole time, the orphans hold onto their faith and their bible, giving thanks to God.

Although not all of them are blood related, they become family.  Their small group loses members to illness and death and eventually there are only 4 of them left.  They finally arrive at a refugee camp where there's more than 100,000 people.

Thirteen years later, their names appear on a list that they will be sent to America.  They leave many refugee friends behind in the camp.  Once arriving in New York, they learn that their sister, Abital, (played by Kouth Wiel) must be separated from the three boys, as women have to have a family sponsor them.  (This is the same law that has separated the many refugees who have recently been coming to the States from South America.)

The three young men, Paul (played by Emmanuel Jal), Mamere (played by Arnold Oceng), and Jeremiah (played by Ger Duany) are met by an employment agent, Carrie (played by Reese Witherspoon).   Carrie is a young single and selfish woman, but as the film progresses we see her softening, as well as her boss, Jack, (played by Corey Stoll).

The rest of the film deals with the struggles and adjustments the three refugees have as they become employed and learn to live here.  We also see how ridiculous and materially over-abundant our lives are in the United States, and how removed from nature (God’s creation) that we have become.

The name, The Good Lie, is a reference to Mark Twain’s book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  We learn that there are several lies and “good lies” in this film. However, it poignantly refers mainly to the very emotional ending. 

An interesting side note is that the actors are all of Sudanese descent and were child soldiers or came from refugee camps. 

This is a must-see film! Unfortunately, it has limited showtimes. You will laugh and you will cry.  Please support this film, and when you see it, tell others.

Questions for youth groups, families, and other small group discussions (and we hope you will post a comment below!):
  1. Do you think it might be easier to have faith, hope, and love if you had very little material things? Why would that be?
  2. Have you ever been to a Third World country, and if so how different do they live from us?
  3. If you put all of your belongings outside in front of your house, how much space would it take up? Have you ever considered yourself rich?
  4. Which of your possessions would you be willing to give away if you knew someone who needed it? Which would be hardest to give away? Why?

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