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The Invention of Lying (2009)

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A comedy set in a world where no one has ever lied, until a writer seizes the opportunity for personal gain.
3,611 ( 332)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Donna Sorbello ...
Wedding Overseer
News Reporter


It's a world where everyone tells the truth - and just about anything they're thinking. Mark Bellison is a screenwriter, about to be fired. He's short and chunky with a flat nose - a genetic setup that means he won't get to first base with Anna, the woman he loves. At a bank, on the spur of the moment he blurts out a fib, with eye-popping results. Then, when his mother's on her deathbed, frightened of the eternal void awaiting her, Mark invents fiction. The hospital staff overhear his description of Heaven, believe every word, and tell others. Soon Mark is a prophet, his first inventive screenplay makes him rich, and he's basically a good guy. But will that be enough for Anna? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a world where everyone can only tell the truth,.....he's just invented the lie! See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual material and a drug reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

2 October 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

This Side of the Truth  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$18,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,027,472, 4 October 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$18,439,082, 13 December 2009
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ricky Gervais's motion picture directing debut. See more »


Although lying does not exist, it is obvious that crime does, given Mark's father's depicted history as being a burglar. The policeman is able to commit and continue committing the act of taking a bribe, so long as he is not questioned about whether or not he is doing so by a superior or a fellow officer, as then and only then he would be in a position where he would have to tell the truth. See more »


Greg: This is the most amazing night of my entire life.
Mark Bellison: Think how amazing if you didn't smell of vomit.
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Referenced in An Idiot Abroad: Climb Mount Fuji (2011) See more »


Written by Cat Stevens (as Yusuf Islam)
Performed by Elvis Costello
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

constantly funny it may not be, but clever it is
4 October 2009 | by See all my reviews

There is a certain re-training of the mind that a film expects of us in order to fully enjoy the place it seeks to take us. This film, in the first act we are taught, in a rather funny way that the world of this film is to say the least - honest. Everyone coldly delivers, whether asked or not - exactly what is on their mind. It takes a good 1/4 of the film to fully understand exactly the world where there is no opposite to truth. And those moments are worth the price of admission alone.

As a viewer I enjoyed the random interactions that a world where truth is embedded in the framework of all social interaction. With no deviation.

By the time Gervais comes across the knowledge that an alternate way of communication exists in "saying what wasn't" we embark on a tale of a man who essentially won the "lying Lottery".

The humour is subtle, the contrast of religious themes are not so, and that may have been the weakest of elements in the film. Sadly those who think there is a single element of disrespect towards religion from within the world of the film are I believe incorrect. While religious digs may have been the impetus for the films creation, from within the film, Mark's character seems to make a clear delineation between an evil lie and a white lie. And his character never seems comfortable for too long with a lie that affects the lives of many.

The film does have a one of the more sweet and quietly powerful scenes where Mark creates an alternate afterlife for his mother. Because I don't view this film through a filter of religious expectation I found this scene to be simply powerful and poignant.

I enjoyed it, as did my partner. We talked the whole way home, and recreated some of the laughs on the way to the car. That is not a lie.

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