Lie with Me (Arrête avec tes mensonges) arrives in cinemas nationwide on August 18th.
What is fiction but a collection of memories, experiences, and ideas rehashed, shaped and embellished? Many writers will tell you that while their work is framed by their imagination, nuggets of reality creep into every story they write, including unspoken thoughts, past pain and lost loves. Adapted from Phillippe Besson’s autobiographical novel Arrête avec tes mensonges. Oliver Peyton’s exquisite adaptation adds new layers to Besson’s story as we follow the successful French author Stéphane Belcourt (Guillaume de Tonquédec and Jérémy Gillet) on a long-overdue trip back to his home town.
Like many fiction writers, Stéphane’s work hides many truths, his words and characters much closer to reality than he would ever admit in public. As he arrives back in town, one person from the past holds court in his mind – his first love at the age of seventeen, Thomas (Julien De Saint Jean). Their love was a secret, and their paths were always destined to diverge, but Thomas has consumed Stéphane’s thoughts and words ever since he left thirty-five years ago. As he attempts to settle in, Stéphane isn’t sure whether his return home is a good idea until he meets Lucas Andrieu (Victor Belmondo). As Lucas introduces himself during a book signing, Stéphane can’t help but wonder who this bright, engaging young man with a familiar smile really is.
The story could easily be described as a standard healing journey as the past converges with the present for Stéphan and Lucas. Equally, one could argue that the film’s themes of a secret gay 80s love affair are tried and tested tropes of LGBTQIA+ storytelling. Yet, while it’s true that Lie with Me could be labelled as a relatively standard LGBTQIA+ drama, its beauty, performances, dramatic undercurrents, and themes create an exceptional cinematic journey. Lie with Me transcends labels as it explores how a person’s past influences their present and how our secrets can eat away at us and those who join us on our life journey. It’s a story of the social barriers that divide us due to our wealth, economic power and educational opportunities at a young age and the relationships we lose due to these insurmountable walls.
Oliver Peyton’s stunning screenplay alongside Poymiro, Rounaud, and Cahn dovetails moments of exquisitely timed comedy with deep emotional undercurrents in a movie that takes you from laughter to tears at the click of its fingers. Here the performances of Guillaume de Tonquédec, Victor Belmondo, Julien De Saint Jean, Jérémy Gillet and the brilliant Guilaine Londez are simply sublime. Add Peyton’s character-focused direction and editing that perfectly weaves the past with the present, and you have one of the year’s best films. Lie with Me is a stunning exploration of love found, lost and found again through blood memory, prose and a need for shared healing and individual closure.
France | 1hr 38min | 2022
Lie with Me is a stunning exploration of love found, lost and found again through blood memory, prose and a need for shared healing and individual closure.