The Good Lie: A Movie About Hope, Love and Survival for 'The Lost Boys of Sudan"
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
A bittersweet tale of a truth that still haunts many parts of the world and especially Africa, The Good Lie, directed by Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar), follows a group dubbed “The Lost Boys of Sudan” as they escape the civil war that has overcome their country, and as they live their new found life as refugees. Festival Du Nouveau Cinema premiered this on the opening night of the festival's 43rd edition.
Starring Reese Witherspoon and Corey Stoll, the rest of the cast is comprised of real life war refugees, some who were even child soldiers. Emmanuel Jal who plays Paul was born in South Sudan during the early 80’s, growing up with no other option than to become a part of the war that was ravaging his country. He thankfully made his way out of suffering and is now a well-established rapper, even performing for the late Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday.
Mr. Falardeau wanted to keep the story as authentic as possible, which he accomplished by providing the voice of a generation who experienced it firsthand. Throughout the movie you continually feel connected to the characters during their struggle for normalcy in their new surroundings. What they never give up on is each other, even when their faith in the world is continuously tested. They know the key to survival is by staying together.
Another way they remained strong and united was by holding on to their values and past teachings. After first escaping their village, Theo (played by Femi Oguns), the eldest of them all, quickly takes on the role of leader of the group. After his capture, it’s up to his younger brother Mamere (played by Arnold Oceng) to lead; a role he will hold on to even in America. The movie is full of inspirational moments, notably when Paul finally faces up to Mamere and tells him he no longer needs to act as a leader, but as brother. The boys end up in a fist fight but the very next day, they are apologizing for hurting one another and moving on from a much needed wake up call. And when Jeremiah (played by Ger Duany, who came to say a few words at the festival's opening night) decides to give to the less fortunate even if it costs him his job. Their influence on the life of Reese’s character is also something to note. Carrie goes from an unknowledgeable and slightly selfish woman to a caring person who is willing to sacrifice a little of herself to see the boys reunited with their sister Abital (played by Kuoth Wiel) located in Boston.Sacrifice is an important theme all throughout the movie. Theo allows himself to get caught by the rebel soldiers for the safety of the group and at the end of the film, Mamere repays this amazing gift of life that Theo gave him so many years before.
Remembering that these events have happened, and that they still happen each and every day is shocking. Refugee children are forced to grow up excessively fast, witnessing horrible events and having to make difficult decisions to ensure their survival. If you are interested in helping out with a great cause, check out The Good Lie fund, which provides humanitarian and educational support to the people of South Sudan. And if you are looking for a chance to catch another screening of The Good Lie, it will be playing before Emmanuel Jal’ appearance in Montreal on October 18th, details here.
Co-written by Nathania Wreh