There are many reasons why screenwriting is considered the most challenging of all art forms. For one thing, coming up with an idea that is original is a huge road-block because so many movies have been produced – all of them trying new ideas. Trying to surprise the audience is another challenge because the surprise must make sense and be believable. If there is a surprise ending or key moment that is not believable or absurd, then all the good ideas that happened before are ruined, resulting in an angry audience.
The Amazon produced movie “The Lie”, released in 2018, starring Mireille Enos, Peter Sarsgaard and Joey King has a story similar to “Your Honor” – a recent series on Showtime starring Brian Cranston. The idea is, what would any parent do to protect their child if they killed someone – by accident, or temporary insanity? To what lengths would they go to protect their child from dire consequences and a life ruined even before it starts? For most of The Lie, the story was told in an understandable and believable series of events. Unfortunately, in an effort to be extremely different, there is a surprise at the end that is absolutely absurd. All of the action and emotions that happened before, especially with Kayla, played by Joey King and her parents Jay and Rebecca, played by Sarsgaard and Enos – become instantly invalid, once you consider an ending this far fetched. No teenage daughter would ever do something like this and that is why this movie fails immediately.
The majority of people who see this ending are going to think, “give me a break” or “that is just insane”, “this makes no sense”. Anything good that happened before in this film, especially the acting is forgotten – all because another outrageous story idea that never should have been attempted.
The ratings on IMDB of 5.8 and Rotten Tomatoes 44% are low – and I agree with these numbers. Any movie with an ending this ridiculous, should be skipped.