REVIEW: THE GOOD LIAR is an intriguing game of cat and mouse pitting Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan in a grift spanning decades.


Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan are at the top of their game in this engaging film full of scams and grifting with a dark underside at the bottom.

It goes largely without saying that the strongest asset in The Good Liar’s quiver is the chemistry between Ian McKellan and Helen Mirren. McKellan plays Roy, a widower who is trying an online dating site meeting Betty, a fellow widow who is also trying out online dating in her golden years. She is a former lecturer at Oxford University living alone while Roy is involved in venture capital. Early in their date, they both reveal that they have used false names in their online courtship but claim they want to come clean having established some chemistry and rapport. Betty is looking for companionship and when Roy takes a bad fall, she soon sets him up in her suburban home, where he starts to insinuate himself strongly into her life, much to the consternation of her grandson Steven (Russell Tovey). But this insinuation has a far deeper root; as Roy is a career con man, having made grifting people out of their life’s savings his career and he sees Betty as possibly his last big score.

To really reveal any more would be to deprive you the viewer of the film’s myriad twists and turns. Some which seem to be extremely dark and out of nowhere; but director Bill Condon keeps you guessing throughout on who is who what is going on and why. While it may get a bit twisty and turny for its own good, it’s the relationship between McKellan and Mirren’s character that keeps you riveted throughout and when the denouement hits, it’s really something to see who will come out on top.

While a bit contrived in parts, strong performances make The Good Liar a film to seek out and watch. McKellan and Mirren are still some of the best in their craft and this film shows you exactly why with stylish direction throughout.