A Little White Lie movie review (2023)

The leading is Michael Shannon, one of the greatest American actors working today with a razor-sharp gaze and a distinct, angular face he knows how to bend and soften to terrifying and powerful effect . Here though, Shannon looks tentative and lost as writer CR Shriver, or more accurately, a Shriver shares nothing with the famous author except a last name. Part of Shannon’s fear is perhaps by design—after all, his character is a handyman in New York and not the enigmatic genius he pretends to be giving to the world. The Season of the Goat, a book that is famous for reasons that are not clear. But Shannon’s drift here feels more visual than truly purposeful. As he delivers his lines slowly and distantly, one often feels that he is wondering how and why he ended up in this movie.

However, we tag along when Shannon’s down-on-his-luck Shriver accepts an invitation from a modest Midwestern literary festival at a struggling university called Acheron, an institution gone wrong. him the real deal. The annual event is organized by Simone Cleary (Kate Hudson. The drill is predictable—the fake Shriver tries to blend in as best he can, dragged from one intellectual debate to the next packed cocktail party, all on a schedule that somehow he refused to read. But he’s hardly rational as he explores his itinerary alongside the likes of Cleary, the happy-go-lucky writer Wassermen (Don Johnson), a superfan named Delta (the delightful Da’Vine Joy Randolph), a nosy journalist (Benjamin the King), and another professor played by M. Emmet Walsh. All these escapades are supposed to be funny… I think. But the humor in the film never lands.

One of the many issues of “A Little White Lie”—adapted from the novel by Chris Belden Shriver—is the film’s inability to explain why Shriver became famous with a book in the first place. During a Q&A session with Aja Naomi King’s feminist author Blythe Brown, this question came to the fore — most of the audience, including Brown herself, seemed to think Shriver was a sexist author. in a book full of offensive language. So why did Acheron invite him if his prose had not aged? And why does the liberal-minded Cleary still think so much of him if The Season of the Goat is that a problem? But before we can consider these questions, the film changes to Brown’s disappearance and Shriver becomes a prime suspect in Detective Karpas’ (Jimmy Simpson) investigation.

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