The question comes up about halfway into The Good Lie when Mamere, a Sudanese refugee recently transplanted to Kansas City, is in night school, studying that teller of tall tales, Huckleberry Finn. Mamere (Arnold Oceng) already knows the answer: He owes his life to a good lie. Some 13 years earlier, as he and four friends were on the run – the only survivors of a terrifying attack on their peaceful village – an older boy, Theo, offered himself up to marauding soldiers, saying he was alone. While the lie may have saved Mamere, it hovers now over his new life in America, where he is physically safe but spiritually dislocated.
A similar question dogs The Good Lie itself, a drama with honourable intentions that feels like a bit of a fib.