Aman Singh Bhogal
Authentic in its portrayal of adversity, Life And The Art Of Lying makes a welcoming addition to the influx of films that are breaking gender stereotypes and exploring same-sex relationships with the assured confidence and maturity the film industry needs more of.
LIFE AND THE ART OF LYING (2017)
This review contains spoilers
Emily Schooley's short film spent three years in production and was handled by numerous cinematographers, yet for all this the first thing I noticed was how coherent the whole picture was; everything just fell into place and flowed to its own rhythm. The characters here aren't stereotypes because human beings are not stereotypes, putting under the lens the unstable relationship between its two lead females with nuance.
26 mins 17 secs
Kari Ann Kinnear
Full Credits Here
The film's real strength here lies in what isn't said. The relationship between Charlie and Mara throughout the course of the film carries a genuine sense of rawness and vulnerability which doesn't falter in it's authenticity at any stage. The dialogue is pitch-perfect and the expressions captured with deft cinematography essentially makes these moments feel truly voyeuristic and empathetic. It brings to the forefront the challenges everyone faces, irrespective of their sexual orientation. By bringing same-sex relationships to the forefront, Emily normalises what would once be shamed and considered alien.
The film stretches its narrative a little too thin towards the end however, venturing into somewhat profound conjectures with vilifications towards the pharmaceutical companies. The film takes the Hippocratic Oath and applies these ethical standards to Dr Simone but it would have been interesting to see what this alternatively titled 'Reset' program would have explicitly entailed. I've little knowledge of the healthcare system in Canada, but find it difficult to be convinced such means of therapy are being threatened and doctors facing abductions and persecution.
Emily's initial idea, titled 'Reset,' essentially married this concept with the turbulence of everyday life, but doesn't quite approach this with the balance it could have. In hindsight however, maybe the intention here was to leave more questions than answers, questions which may be lying just beyond that horizon, in a time where great change is happening right across the spectrum.
Regardless, Life And The Art Of Lying works with both assured confidence and teeming passion, and stories such as these bring to the forefront the need to explore same-sex relationships to the same extent heterosexual relationships are. I agree with Emily in that there is a clear irony with this film; despite what the title may suggest and its main protagonist does, the frank truth of life cannot be veiled. This is a snapshot of two everyday people's lives at times of hardship and is explored very well indeed.
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