‘The Invention of Lying’ makes honesty quite appealing

Jennifer Garner and Ricky Gervais in The Invention of Lying

Ricky Gervais writes, directs and stars in The Invention of Lying, a new film that also stars Jennifer Garner, Louis C.K., Jonah Hill and Rob Lowe.

But just to be clear, Matthew Robinson co-wrote and co-directed this interesting look at a society where everyone is completely honest until suddenly one lone man somehow learns to dissemble.

Gervais portrays “Mark Bellison”, a writer for a film studio.

How refreshing and yet insulting would it be to live in a kind of utopia where a blind date tells you that she is clearly not attracted to you and that you won’t be sleeping with her on that or any night? Or when a waiter tells you that your food looks awful and they wouldn’t eat it and they suggest an alternative? As for the film studio in question, because there is no fiction or dishonesty in this society it makes films about the history of the world, narrated by people with resonant voices.

Poor Mark is stuck with a decade that contains no history of real interest and as a result his position is in jeopardy.

His blind date with “Anna” (Jennifer Garner) didn’t go well even though she is gorgeous and he is clearly infatuated with her. She is more concerned about genetics and ensuring that her future children are as genetically gifted as she is.

Fionnula Flanagan and Ricky Gervais in The Invention of Lying

When Mark is finally let go, he commiserates with his friend “Greg” (Louis C.K.) and his neighbor “Frank” (Jonah Hill) about how awful their lives are. Then, faced with the reality of being evicted, he makes a breakthrough. He discovers his facility for dishonesty and the results of this are beyond his wildest dreams.

Then he is confronted with the reality of his mother’s impending death, and he only wants to alleviate her fears and comfort her in her final moments, so he spins a tale about what comes after death that has nothing to do with either reality or what people in this utopian society have previously been told to believe.

If his mother had been the only person to hear Mark’s tale nothing more might have happened, but when word leaks out that there is a man who knows what happens after you die, people all over the world begin to clamor to know what this man knows.

I am deliberately being vague and leaving what I tell you about this tale at this point because I refuse to spoil the rest of this terrific movie before someone reading this has that experience spoiled for them.

Gervais and company have created a film that makes you think about some very interesting situations. Would you prefer honesty over the “white lies” that people in our current society tell to save themselves from the pain of confrontation? Would it be easier if you knew what those around you actually thought instead of having to try to guess and wonder just how much you truly know about how you are perceived? Is there more than just pure physical attraction that brings two lovers together and keeps them that way for extended periods?

If you want see a thought-provoking film, this is the one currently out there to see.

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