White Lie is anchored by an extraordinary performance by Kacey Rohl. Despite her faux-cancer appearance, she’s got such a screen presence that we can’t help but be intrigued by her, even as her actions repulse us. It is a challenging role — she has to act like she has 100% conviction about her condition, just like a real-life charlatan would yet reveal enough masked vulnerability to let the audience have some sympathy for her. She’s in every scene and transforms the film from an interesting idea to something truly special.
“Directors Calvin Thomas and Yonah Lewis deserve credit for taking a gutsy leap with the subject matter…”
The film has a special resonance because, in our workplace, politics, and social media environments, goblins abound. In this era of polarization and swift and unforgiving internet justice, it is a bold move to try to add any humanity at all to the wicked. But sympathy is not so much the goal here as a detailed, unflinching examination of someone who is driven, gifted, even extraordinary in some areas while being bankrupt, odious, and disordered in others.
Directors Calvin Thomas and Yonah Lewis deserve credit for taking a gutsy leap with the subject matter and delivering without pulling any punches. If you’ve ever known a pathological liar, White Lie nails every detail of the lengths they will go to avoid getting caught and shines a light on a sickness few want to confront.
White Lie had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.