TIFF 2019 White Lie

TIFF 2019: White Lie Review

Thanks to Highball.TV for sponsoring ThatShelf’s 2019 TIFF Coverage!

A lie’s strength is in the details. Too many give it away and inconsistencies betray a good deception. A delicate balance of vagaries and nuance makes fiction resemble fact.

Katie (Kacey Rohl) has a good handle on the art of the con. She pretends that she has cancer so that people donate to sham campaigns that fuel her lifestyle. The ruse works until she ups the stakes and needs insider trades to fool people—but this risk entails gaining the trust of people who stand to lose most by her bluff. This step is where her charade stumbles in the engrossingly plotted White Lie, a fascinating character study and absorbing thriller from Calvin Thomas and Yonah Lewis (Spice It Up).

Like a good lie though, inconsistent details crack a film’s veneer. While Rohl’s excellent performance sells every aspect of Katie’s desperate need for friends, love, and attention no matter how odiously repellent the character may be. Similarly, Calvin and Yonah’s script is as propulsive as the best of thrillers and their direction taut and precise. But there are curious gaffes that break one’s suspension of disbelief, like how Katie’s girlfriend Jennifer (Amber Anderson) has a British accent when her parents are Canadian or how Katie scans her medical records page by page–so cinematic!–when any intern who’s used a Xerox knows to feed a stack of papers through the top in just three seconds. Some of these details are major and some are trivially, stupidly minor, but they all matter. Once one questions a lie, it’s hard to be drawn back in. Continuity issues aside, White Lie proves this filmmaking team as one of the most exciting voices emerging in Canadian cinema.

Thanks to Highball.TV for sponsoring ThatShelf’s 2019 TIFF Coverage