They were known simply as “The Lost Boys.”
Orphaned by the brutal civil war in Sudan, which began in 1983, these young victims traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety. Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3,600 lost boys, as well as girls, to America.
“The Truly Moving Picture Award jury was moved by the realistic depiction of refugee life, both overseas and in the United States,” said Heartland Film Artistic Director Tim Irwin. “Jurors were amazed that two of the actors were refugees themselves, and praised the strong acting performances across the film’s ensemble cast. The Good Lie will be a film that shifts viewers’ perspectives on many important topics.”
In The Good Lie, Philippe Falardeau, (writer and director of the Oscar®- nominated Foreign Language film Monsieur Lazhar) brings the story of their survival and triumph to life. Academy Award® winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) stars alongside Sudanese actors Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and newcomer Kuoth Wiel, some of whom were also children of war.
Mamere and Theo are sons of the Chief in their village in Southern Sudan. When an attack by the Northern militia destroys their home and kills their parents, eldest son Theo is forced to assume the role of Chief and lead a group of young survivors, including his sister Abital, away from harm. But the hostile, treacherous terrain has other dangers in store for them. As the tattered group makes the difficult trek to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, they meet other fleeing children, forging a bond with Jeremiah, who, at 13, is already a man of faith, and Paul, whose skills become essential to their survival.
Thirteen years later, the now young adults are given the opportunity to leave the camp and resettle in America. Upon arriving in Kansas, they are met by Carrie Davis (Witherspoon), an employment agency counselor who has been enlisted to help find them jobs—no easy task, when things like light switches and telephones are brand new to them.
Although Carrie has successfully kept herself from any emotional entanglements, these refugees, who desperately require help navigating the 21st century and rebuilding their shattered lives, need just that. So Carrie embarks on her own unchartered territory, enlisting the help of her boss, Jack (Corey Stoll).
Together, against the backdrop of their shared losses, the Lost Boys and these unlikely strangers find humor in the clash of cultures, and heartbreak as well as hope in the challenges of life in America.
Along with Witherspoon, the film stars Corey Stoll (TV’s “House of Cards”); real-life Sudanese refugees Arnold Oceng (“My Brother the Devil,” “Adulthood”) and newcomer Kuoth Wiel; Ger Duany (I Heart Huckabees) and rapper Emmanuel Jal, who were both former child soldiers and lost boys; and Femi Oguns (BBC’s “The Casualty”). Rounding out the main cast are Sarah Baker as Faith Based Charities volunteer Pamela Lowi; and, as the younger Lost Boys, Peterdeng Mongok, Okwar Jale, Thon Kueth, Deng Ajuet and Keji Jale, all of whom are children of Sudanese refugees.
Falardeau directed the film from a screenplay by Margaret Nagle (HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”). The Good Lie was produced by Academy Award winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind), Karen Kehela Sherwood (Frost/Nixon), Molly Mickler Smith (The Blind Side), Thad Luckinbill, and Trent Luckinbill. Oscar nominees Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson (The Blind Side), Kim Roth, Ellen H. Schwartz, Deepak Navar, and Bobby and Deb Newmyer served as executive producers.
Behind the scenes, Falardeau reunited with his Monsieur Lazhar director of photography Ronald Plante and composer Martin Léon. His creative team also included production designer Aaron Osbourne, editor Richard Comeau, costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, and casting director Mindy Marin.
Alcon Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment and Black Label Media present a Black Label Media, Imagine Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment Production, The Good Lie. The film will be distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.
The film has been rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some violence, brief strong language and drug use.