Consummate con man Roy Courtnay has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish, worth millions. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes.


Bill Condon


Nicholas Searle (based on the novel by), Jeffrey Hatcher (screenplay by)
2,560 ( 8)
5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Mirren ... Betty McLeish
Ian McKellen ... Roy Courtnay
Russell Tovey ... Stephen
Jim Carter ... Vincent
Mark Lewis Jones ... Bryn
Laurie Davidson ... Hans Taub (1948)
Phil Dunster ... Roy Courtnay (1948)
Lucian Msamati ... Beni
Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson ... Vlad
Tunji Kasim ... Michael
Spike White ... Hans Taub (1943)
Stella Stocker ... Frau Schröder
Daniel Betts ... Herr Schröder
Nell Williams ... Lili
Celine Buckens ... Annalise


Career con artist Roy Courtnay (Sir Ian McKellen) can hardly believe his luck when he meets well-to-do widow Betty McLeish (Dame Helen Mirren) on-line. As Betty opens her home and life to him, Roy is surprised to find himself caring about her, turning what should be a cut-and-dry swindle into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life. Written by New Line Cinema

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Read between the lies

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence, and for language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This movie marks the fourth collaboration between Writer and Director Bill Condon and Sir Ian McKellen, after Gods and Monsters (1998), Mr. Holmes (2015), and Beauty and the Beast (2017). See more »


When Roy (Ian McKellen) and Betty (Helen Mirren) prepare to enter their passwords for the money transfer to take place, Roy begins to spell out the word 'lilies', but he he incorrectly says 'I.L.L.' instead of 'L.I.L.' See more »


[leaving a screening of "Inglourious Basterds"]
Roy Courtnay: Well, I may have missed a step, but I am fairly certain that Adolf Hitler was not machine-gunned to death in a French cinema.
Betty McLeish: Well, it would have been rather good if he had been.
See more »


Where or When
Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

User Reviews

Somehow, its twists are both obvious and out of the blue.
11 November 2019 | by Pjtaylor-96-138044See all my reviews

'The Good Liar (2019)' is, in essence, nonsense, comprised of twists either far too obvious or completely out of the blue. Even though its marketing all but spoils its most major revelation, the flick still plays as a relatively unassuming drama until a final exposition dump aims to re-contextualise its plot, turning the affair into a pseudo thriller. Perhaps this is an effort to provoke a second viewing, but the movie doesn't have an ounce of ambiguity or, indeed, foreshadowing. It makes for a completely blindsiding ending that has little to no consequence because it feels so utterly disconnected from everything we've seen prior. The protagonist is suddenly transformed into something they never were before and we're just expected to accept it, to change allegiances at the last minute. This is a big ask and it makes for an unsatisfying end. Conceptually, it's fine, it's just that its execution doesn't capitalise on its potential. The picture isn't bad, though. It's forgettable and retroactively strained but it's engaging enough. The two leads are as good as you'd expect, playing ever-so-slightly against type and feeling comfortable while doing so. The actual writing is decent, if a little cheesy, and the direction is competent. There are a couple of OAP scuffles that work surprisingly well, too. Generally, it's relatively enjoyable throughout, despite some eye-rolling moments. It does feel a bit 'BBC 2' but it's not a bad effort, even though it's already fading from my memory. 6/10

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UK | Germany | USA


English | German | Russian | French | Spanish

Release Date:

15 November 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Good Liar See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,605,051, 17 November 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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