Teaming two knighted acting legends in the same film is inspired, but the result of the collaboration between Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren in The Good Liar doesn’t quite elevate a mediocre movie from a fate that remains too queasy to generate a feeling of good will or good faith. Watching them polish their skills for nearly two hours, however, makes even a familiar thriller well worth seeing.
SEE ALSO: ‘Waves’ Is a Demanding and Absorbing Family Drama
He is career con man Roy Courtnay, who specializes in reducing rich, vulnerable women to bankruptcy. She is Betty McLeish, a beautiful London widow he sets out to fleece. Elegant, clever and too smart to be anyone’s victim, she’s too crafty for his shenanigans, he’s no match for her wiles, and The Good Liar is no match for their genius.
THE GOOD LIAR ★★★
The plot Jeffrey Hatcher knits from a novel by Nicholas Searle has more twists than a scenic railway. Both cat and mouse pretend to be lonely and desperate for companionship, meet through online dating profiles, rendezvous at a restaurant, and take to each other instantly. A retired Oxford professor, she finds his manners and scholarly wit a welcome exception to the boorishness of most dim-bulbed Englishmen in the eligible bachelor market.
She feels so safe and comfortable in his presence that she even invites him to move into her guest room to heal an injured leg. Gradually, Roy’s chivalry and charm irritates her suspicious grandson Stephen (Russell Tovey), the only one in his grandmother’s life hip to the fact that her new amour is hell-bent on bilking her of her bank account, even succeeding in talking her into transferring her savings to a joint fund he can easily access whenever he needs cash.
It’s a perfect setup for a seasoned crook like Roy, and Betty is a sitting duck. Or is she? At the halfway point, the narrative begins to shift focus and the big question is: “Who is the bigger con of the duo—Betty, or Roy?”
The second half of The Good Liar is aimed at surprising the viewer into one loud “oh, no!” after another, replete with revelations, dark mood shifts and so many nods to Alfred Hitchcock that the tricks become both predictable and contrived. As watchable as the two stars are, the secrets and lies are not much fun. The result is a film without much mystery or credibility, devoid of suspense and the joy of discovery.
The only consistent thrill in The Good Liar is waiting to see what the inestimably talented stars will do next. Director Bill Condon proved how powerful his rapport with McKellen could be when he directed him as Hollywood’s tragic Frankenstein director James Whale in the great 1998 film Gods and Monsters, but for their first appearance together onscreen, he distills from the McKellen-Mirren team an energy that is devastating.
The way they listen, look into each other’s eyes, absorb each word and every silence, while sipping a flute of champagne or sharing a cup of tea—it’s a revelation, and a master class in acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the same time. Together, they redefine rapture.
‘The Good Liar’ on HBO: How Is This Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen’s First Movie Together?
The Good Liar, which is airing on HBO tonight at 8 p.m. ET, is Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen‘s first film together. I repeat: The Good Liar—aka the 2019 crime thriller from director Bill Condon that got mediocre reviews from critics—is Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen’s first movie together. Does that sound right to you? Because it sounds positively incorrect to me.
Surely this must be some kind of a mistake. Both knighted as Dame and Sir respectively, Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen are two of England’s most beloved, most respected actors. They’re contemporaries—a mere 7 years apart in age—with a love for, forgive me, stuffy prestige British dramas. They’re both members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. They’ve both indulged in their fair share of blockbuster paydays, including the Lord of the Rings and X-Men franchise for McKellen, and the Fast and the Furious franchise for Mirren. Yet, somehow, it took until the big year of 2019 to get these two legends on screen together? What gives?!
Are we sure that Mirren wasn’t in 1995’s Richard III? Or that McKellen wasn’t in 1979’s Caligula? Surely one or both of them showed up in a Harry Potter film? Or had a one-scene cameo in a Richard Curtis film? Did they not play long-suffering lovers in a period piece about the royal family circa 1800 together? Or voice the snooty British characters in a cash-grab animated film for kids? I swear to god they sang a duet in Cats! This just doesn’t seem right at all!
But, dear reader, it’s true. Despite the fact that the actors have appeared together at many award shows and TV specials over the years, The Good Liar is Mirren and McKellen’s first film together. Directed by Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast, The Fifth Estate, Dreamgirls) McKellen stars as an expert con artist, while Mirren plays the wealthy widow whose fortune he plans to steal. While critics praised Mirren and McKellen for their performances (duh!) the film holds only a 63 percent on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics pointing to an unsatisfying ending.
Too bad. After their long careers of a combined 100+ titles, you’d hope the first on-screen collab between these two British powerhouses would make a bigger splash. I guess they’ll just have to keep working together, to make up for lost time. (Are we sure they weren’t both in The Tempest?)
Where to watch The Good Liar
The Good Liar
The Good Liar (2019)
Rated R for some strong violence, and for language and brief nudity.
Latest blog posts
1 day ago
1 day ago
1 day ago
2 days ago
The Good Liar
2019 film directed by Bill Condon
The Good Liar is a 2019 crime thriller film directed and produced by Bill Condon and written by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Nicholas Searle. It stars Ian McKellen as a career con artist who meets a wealthy widow (Helen Mirren) online, and then discovers that his plan to steal her fortune has unexpected roadblocks.
The film premiered at the BFI Southbank in London on October 28, 2019. It was released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United Kingdom on November 8, 2019, and in the United States on November 15, 2019. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $33 million against a budget of $10 million.
In 2009 London, Roy Courtnay is an aging British con artist who, along with his business partner Vincent, uses false identities to deceive people into giving him access to their finances. His latest target is Betty McLeish, a former history professor at Oxford University who lost her husband a year ago and has savings in excess of £2 million.
Feigning a bad knee, Roy manipulates Betty into allowing him to stay at her house. He steadily encourages her to open a joint offshore investment account with him, so that he can steal her money. Simultaneously, Roy and Vincent run an investment scam with their mark Bryn and his associate by employing fake Russian investors. One of the fake Russians, actually a Polish butcher, demands a greater cut of the take; in response, Roy orders thugs to break the butcher's hand with a meat tenderizer. Realizing he has been robbed, Bryn follows Roy during his date with Betty. Upon spotting Bryn nearby, Roy sends Betty into the shops before luring Bryn into Charing Cross tube station. There, Roy stabs Bryn and then shoves him into the path of an incoming train, killing him. Roy reunites with Betty back at the shops.
Roy and Betty vacation in Berlin, where Roy appears to understand German, though he claims he does not. Betty's grandson Steven takes the couple to a flat that Roy recognizes. Steven reveals that 'Roy Courtnay'—a young British Army officer—was killed there in 1948 by a Nazi war criminal whom he was tracking, according to Soviet records. He narrates an elaborate story of his mission in Germany and explains at first that Hans Taub was his German translator. The mission ended in the death of Hans Taub. When Steven refuses to believe his story, Roy is forced to confess that he is Hans Taub, and that he stole Roy's identity so that he could leave Germany and reinvent himself. Betty accepts his explanation and dismisses Steven's objections.
Soon afterwards, Roy and Betty plan to transfer their money into the joint account. Vincent suggests to Roy that he leave at least some of the money for Betty to help with her medical condition, but Roy dismisses the idea and insists that he will leave Betty financially defrauded just like his previous victims. He says he wants enough money to sit on a beach somewhere and sip champagne. Vincent reluctantly complies and later participates in the transactions necessary for the couple to transfer their money into the joint account. However, after leaving Betty and returning to his flat, Roy discovers that he no longer has the keypad needed to access the account. Roy returns to Betty's house to reclaim it, only to find Betty waiting for him and that all the house's contents have been removed.
Betty attempts to force a confession out of Roy, before revealing that her identity and personal history are all fake. Her real name is Lili Schröeder and she has met Roy before back when they were German teenagers in 1943, wherein Hans was tutoring her in English. On their last session, after trying to kiss one of her sisters, Hans raped Lili. After her parents dismiss him from continuing his tutoring lessons over the kiss, Hans denounced Lili's father as a traitor and he was executed by the Nazis. This drove Lili's mother to commit suicide. Later, Lili's sisters were killed in an explosion just two weeks before the death of Adolf Hitler. After the war ended, Lili suffered at the hands of the Russians; learning to be a good liar for survival. Eventually she made her way to England.
After recounting their past, Lili explains to Roy that she has been fully aware of his plan to con her all along. Steven, who was in fact the boyfriend of Lili's real grandson Michael, tracked Roy/Hans' criminal history and they confirmed his identity in a DNA test using a locket from Betty/Lili's childhood that contained a piece of Hans' hair. She also reveals that Vincent has betrayed Roy after being confronted with her knowledge of their crimes.
Betty takes all of Roy's money out of their joint account, leaving him only enough money to pay back the victims of his earlier con. Roy says he will beg her forgiveness but Betty says she is 'beyond him now.' Just as she prepares to leave the house, Roy locks the door and attacks her - but she manages to fend him off before he is confronted by Bryn's associate and the Polish butcher whom he previously cheated. Betty then leaves the house as Roy, defiant to the last and refusing to pay his clients back, is consequently beaten up. Weeks later, Roy, having suffered a severe stroke during the fight, is shown in hospital against a painted backdrop of a beach. Vincent pays him a visit. Roy is unable to speak or move. Vincent gives him a drink and says "Pretend it's champagne" and the liquid dribbles out of Roy's paralysed mouth. Betty is shown in the final scene living happily with her extended family.
In March 2018, it was announced that Bill Condon would direct the film, with Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren cast in the leading roles. In April 2018, Russell Tovey and Jim Carter joined the cast.
Principal production commenced on April 23, 2018, in London, England. The film was also shot in Berlin, Germany.
The film's world premiere was held on October 28, 2019 at the BFI Southbank in London. It was released on November 8, 2019 in the United Kingdom, and on November 15, 2019 in the United States.
The Good Liar has grossed $17.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $16.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $33.4 million, against a production budget of $10 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Charlie's Angels and Ford v Ferrari, and was projected to gross around $5 million from 2,439 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $1.6 million on its first day and went on to debut to $5.6 million, finishing seventh at the box office. It fell 40% to $3.6 million in its second weekend, finishing in tenth.
Rotten Tomatoes reported that 63% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 164 reviews, with an average rating of 6.20/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "The Good Liar is less than the sum of its prestigious parts, but Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren keep the proceedings consistently watchable." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 55 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while those surveyed at PostTrak gave it 4 out of 5 stars, with 56% saying they would definitely recommend it.The Guardian included it in a list of the most underrated films of 2019.
In his review for The Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern wrote, "“The Good Liar” is calculation from arch start to hollow finish... This film grows grim enough to be a companion piece." Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times commented, "The sleight of hand “The Good Liar” tries to pull off might be easier to keep hidden on the page. As it progresses, the film reveals complications (it plays particularly dubious tricks with the way it parcels out flashbacks to the 1940s) and a motive that might as well have been picked out of a hat. The finale could be written with entirely different details, and almost no scene preceding it would have to change. The real good liar is whoever convinced Mirren and McKellen to class up such thin and arbitrary material." Peter Sobczynski writing for RogerEbert.com gave the movie two and half stars out of four and stated, "...it quickly becomes apparent that this is one of those stories where nothing is quite as it seems, and leading to a shocking revelation that most will see coming, at least in the broad strokes. A film of this sort needs an airtight plot—or at least airtight enough to keep you from questioning things as it is running—but there are a few too many instances in which characters say and do things solely because the plot requires them to do so." Sandra Hall of The Sydney Morning Herald gave the film three and half stars out of five and noted, "...as a result, there's not much suspense. It's an enthralling exercise but a peculiarly cerebral one – a psychological thriller without the thrills."The Guardian's Wendy Ide gave the film three stars out of five, stating, "...The Good Liar is at its sparky best when Mirren and McKellen are on screen, waltzing smoothly through a plot that feels like a Russian doll of deeper and deeper deceptions. Flashes of violence are effectively jarring when juxtaposed with the chintzy cosiness of much of the film. Less successful are two thudding, lead-weight flashbacks, which disgorge chunks of exposition and quash some of the fun in McKellen and Mirren's deft double act." Elizabeth Weitzman of TheWrap said, "There’s only one truly unpredictable twist in “The Good Liar,” and that's the disappointment audiences are likely to feel when they leave the theater."
The Adelaide Review gave the movie 7/10 points, noting, "Helen and Ian’s first film together (although they’ve previously appeared as a double-act on the stage), this has an especially complex and even unpleasant performance by him, but she’s no slouch too, and it’s good to see Tovey holding his own in scenes alongside these two ‘national treasures’. And yes, as Helen's Betty would say, “It’s so English!”" In his review for Rolling Stone, David Fear gave the film two stars out of five and wrote, "The real question is: Are you willing to endure all of that random swerving for the simple pleasure of these performers’ company? Both actors are, unsurprisingly, bending over backwards here to sell these characters and establish enough screen chemistry to smooth over a lot of rough patches... They play off each other beautifully despite the material, and they get a chance to indulge in the aforementioned range of sound and fury. Yes, you would watch these two in virtually anything. You just wish it wasn't this. They deserve something sturdier and far less head-slappingly preposterous, and that's the truth." Jon Frosch of The Hollywood Reporter added, "An example of the kind of middlebrow, classily accoutered “cinema for adults” that's grown rare in the Age of Marvel, the film may pique the interest of viewers of a certain age; there's a comfy pleasure in watching these two pros patter back and forth in plummy accents, clutching mugs of tea or sipping flutes of champagne. Yet The Good Liar’s sophistication is nothing if not skin-deep. For all its nasty twists and turns, its fake-outs and flashbacks and cheekily preposterous pile-up of double-crosses, this story of an elderly con man and the wealthy widow he targets feels fatally devoid of danger. Square, tame and tidy as the London-area house kept by Mirren’s primly elegant, creamy-complexioned septuagenarian, The Good Liar is a work of skill but little spark."Le News gave the film three stars out of four, stating. "Two superb actors from the grand culture of English drama – Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen – are enough reason to pull you into this intriguing tale of deception... If you’re looking for quality entertainment with an absorbing script, multiple twists and great acting, this is your film. Not a masterpiece, but captivating and satisfying."
David Hughes of Empire gave the film three stars out of five, commenting, "...even if you know what's coming, there's joy in watching two flawless performances from these much-loved veteran actors, relishing every nuance of their characters, and every moment of their time on screen. They're so good, in fact, that the film flags every time one or both of them are off screen, such as during the flashback sequences, with which a more daring adaptation might have dispensed... It may be a shaggy-dog story, with occasional lapses into melodrama, but Mirren and McKellen are on sparkling form, and when a film aimed primarily at pensioners employs both the C-word and gory injury detail, you can't accuse it of being boring." David Ehrlich of IndieWire stated, "...it’s Mirren who’s ultimately asked to carry this movie across the finish line, and she does so with oodles of her signature elan. It’s a rare actor who can split the difference between an airport thriller and a historical reckoning — who’s able to conflate the silly with the serious in a way that completely erases the difference — but Mirren is more than up to the challenge. The final stretches of Condon’s film are so ludicrous that you almost feel swindled for caring about the movie until that point, but Mirren grounds one plot twist after another with the gravity of her conviction (and a little help from Carter Burwell’s lilting, uneasy, “Mr. Holmes”-esque score). “The Good Liar” may not have much to say about redemption, entrapment, or the fibs that can hold a friendship together, but the past is only so important to a wicked little thriller that delights in the moment at hand." Jess Layt of Hawkesbury Gazette gave the movie 5.5/10 points, commenting, "This is a story gives older actors some genuine character work, an actual story and motivations and a life. That being said, the way The Good Liar plays out in its final act feels like a bit of a hoodwink in itself. Audiences have been following these characters for a good chunk of film, only to have odd backstories suddenly revealed for which there is no apparent foreshadowing... The Good Liar, much like its protagonist, talks big game but is really just confused about its identity and place in the world."
- ^"Carter Burwell to Score Bill Condon's 'The Good Liar' | Film Music Reporter". Film Music Reporter. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
- ^"THE GOOD LIAR". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
- ^ abcD'Alessandro, Anthony (November 14, 2019). "'Ford v Ferrari' Cruising To $28M+, 'Charlie's Angels' Kicked Out Of Heaven With $10M+ Start". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
- ^ abc"The Good Liar". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- ^ ab"The Good Liar (2019)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- ^Butler, Karen (April 23, 2018). "Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren start filming The Good Liar". UPI. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- ^Kit, Borys (March 12, 2018). "Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Bill Condon Team for The Good Liar". The Hollywood Reporter.
- ^Mitchell, Robert (April 9, 2018). "Russell Tovey, Jim Carter Confirmed for Bill Condon's The Good Liar". Variety.
- ^"WB Films in Production 2018". Warner Bros. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- ^Harding, Laura (October 28, 2019). "I wish online dating had been around when I was young – Sir Ian McKellen". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
- ^Warner Bros Dates ‘The Good Liar’, Bill Condon’s Grifter Drama Starring Ian McKellen-Helen Mirren
- ^D'Alessandro, Anthony; Tartaglione, Nancy (November 13, 2019). "'Ford v Ferrari' To Do Donuts Around 'Charlie's Angels' With $50M Global Opening". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
- ^D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 24, 2019). "'Frozen 2' Thaws Frigid B.O. Marketplace With $130M+, Smashing November Animated Pic Opening Records". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
- ^"The Good Liar (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
- ^"The Good Liar Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
- ^Peter Bradshaw, Jordan Hoffman, Charles Bramesco, Pamela Hutchinson, Simran Hans, Gretchen Smail, Adrian Horton, Catherine Shoard, Andrew Pulver, Benjamin Lee (December 30, 2019). "The best movies of 2019 that you haven't seen". The Guardian. Retrieved December 31, 2019.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- ^Morgenstern, Joe (November 14, 2019). "'The Good Liar' Review: Untrue Romance". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Kenigsberg, Ben (November 14, 2019). "'The Good Liar' Review: For Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen, the Truth Hurts". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Sobczynski, Peter (November 15, 2019). "The Good Liar movie review & film summary (2019) | Roger Ebert". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Hall, Sandra (November 27, 2019). "The Good Liar is a taut psychological thriller without thrills". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Ide, Wendy (November 10, 2019). "The Good Liar review – the unlikely couple". The Guardian. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Weitzman, Elizabeth (November 15, 2019). "'The Good Liar' Film Review: Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen Wasted in Disappointing Crime Drama". TheWrap. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^"Film Review: The Good Liar". The Adelaide Review. December 6, 2019. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Fear, David (November 14, 2019). "'The Good Liar' Review: McKellen, Mirren Match Wits in Missed-Opportunity Thriller". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Frosch, Jon (November 15, 2019). "'The Good Liar': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^"FILM: THE GOOD LIAR ***". Le News. January 2, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Hughes, David (November 7, 2019). "The Good Liar". Empire. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Ehrlich, David (November 7, 2019). "'The Good Liar' Review: McKellen and Mirren Rewrite History in this Enjoyably Preposterous Thriller". IndieWire. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Layt, Jess (December 9, 2019). "The Good Liar film review: Thriller is its own con job". Hawkesbury Gazette. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- ^Hipes, Patrick (March 4, 2021). "Saturn Awards Nominations: 'Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker', 'Tenet', 'Walking Dead', 'Outlander' Lead List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
Films by Bill Condon
Liars movie perfect
The Good Liar review – Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen are irresistible
This mystery thriller is outrageous and irresistible, an old-fashioned drama with dashes of Patricia Highsmith, Patrick Hamilton, John le Carré and maybe Elizabeth Jane Howard’s memoir Slipstream. It features delicious performances by Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen – I don’t think McKellen has had such a juicy role since his turn in the 1998 drama Apt Pupil – and the film has such storytelling gusto that you’ll overlook bits of implausible silliness involving smartphone-type “handsets” with which large financial sums can supposedly be transferred from one bank account to another.
The director is Bill Condon, and it’s adapted by screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher from the bestselling 2016 novel by first-time author Nicholas Searle who caused a flurry of his own by announcing that he was “not allowed to say more about his career than that he was a senior civil servant for many years”.
Mirren plays a retired, well-off widow called Betty McLeish looking for decorous romantic companionship from a silver-years dating website. She finds herself set up for lunch with roguish old charmer Roy Courtnay (McKellen) who enchants her with his twinkly-eyed naughtiness, and, even though Betty can see he’s a little bit improper, she’s no prig and likes a laugh.
It isn’t long before Roy has actually moved in as a platonic house guest to the astonished disapproval of Betty’s grandson Steven (Russell Tovey) a postgraduate student who occasionally stays overnight at Betty’s house. Steven is right to worry – because Roy is a dead-eyed predatory conman, working with phoney accountant Vincent (a nice performance from Jim Carter) to bilk greedy businessmen out of their cash and trick widows out of their savings. But maybe this scheme to hoodwink Betty will not go as smoothly as smug Roy thinks.
This movie rattles along with terrific energy and dash and the flashback sequences show that it’s actually far more daring and ambitious that you might expect. It’s a great duel between McKellen and Mirren.
The Good Liar is released in the UK on 8 November, in the US on 15 November and in Australia on 5 December.
For some reason, when you fuck yourself, you don't notice how everything is going on in the animal. And so, from the side it looks like dogs, what posture, what speed (back and forth). But, oddly enough, to watch this live, lying next to him on the couch, feeling even how he bends under a loving.
You will also like:
- Gta pop smoke
- Striped drape
- 2005 tacoma transmission
- Power cage amazon
- Fortnite enable
- Pbr stock forum
- Pakistan recipes urdu
- Reversible silicone rings
- Utah code intoxication
It was too difficult for an inept programmer, but I still learned a very important thing from this. I was able to compose a hypnotizing program, record it on a cassette, and the person who watches the hypnosis session will. Follow my orders on a subconscious level. The most difficult thing was to get around the reflex about insubordination to absurd situations - but given that I knew my grandmother as flaky, and her.
Venerable age, this should not have been any difficulty.