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
The world depicted in the movie uses the same dating system as we do (1300s, 1812, etcetera), and remembers the same historical events such as the Black Plague and Napoléon Bonaparte. These two things don't wash. First, since there is no concept of God, and therefore no Jesus Christ, what are the years counting from? Second, the histories of the Black Plague and Napoleon were replete with lying and religion (which were instrumental in Napoleon's rise to power), and without those things these events could not have happened in a remotely similar way. See more »
I was pleasantly surprised by this film. From a simple premise as "lying doesn't exist" it develops into a thoughtful tale with a touch of satire. On the one hand it exposes early on the basic first impressions we all have of each other and of situations we find ourselves in. On the other, it touches on the importance of being honest about what we know and especially honest about what we don't know.
I could examine all the inconsistencies inherent to a concept like this. One would think that without the concept of duplicity, we should be far more advanced than we currently are. One would also think that without lying, there would be no imagination and therefore very few scientific discoveries and advances. The story requires that you don't think about that too much, just to enjoy the script as it moves along.
Gervais carries the film along as planned, in his quiet, self-effacing way. The humor won't have you rolling on the floor, but the frankness of the casual insights should make anyone snicker with self-awareness at the truth of it all.
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