The Lie is a 2020 Canadian murder mystery that takes place in the U.S.
10 out of 10. I never saw the ending coming and that’s unusual for me. It’s painful to watch two parents spiral out of control trying to protect their irresponsible and self-destructive daughter.
A divorced couple argue over their teenage daughter as the mom passes her off to the dad for a weekend ballet retreat. Mom is Rebecca. Dad is Jay. Daughter is Kayla. As Jay is driving Kayla to her ballet retreat, Kayla notices her best friend Brittany standing at the bus stop, so they stop and give her a ride. Apparently Brittany is going to the same ballet retreat.
Right from the beginning, Brittany’s behavior is very odd and so is Kayla’s. For best friends, they’re pretty cruel to each other. Then Brittany flirts with Jay and Kayla becomes downright hostile. Brittany insists that Jay pull over so she can pee or she’s going to pee in the car. Reluctantly Jay pulls over and the girls sneak off through the snow toward a nearby river. Moments later he hears screaming, every parent’s nightmare. He finds Kayla on a bridge looking down at the river and Brittany’s wallet on the river bank below. Jay runs down to the river, jumps in, and tries finding Brittany, but there’s no body, so he rushes back to the car with her wallet to use Kayla’s phone to call 9-1-1. The phone is password-locked and Kayla refuses to give him the password. Apparently he’s too broke to afford a cell phone himself.
Then comes the bombshell. Kayla tells Jay she pushed Brittany in.
What Jay should have done was insist on the password and call 9-1-1. That’s not what he does. He immediately begins covering up everything then takes Kayla to her Mom’s work where he doesn’t tell her what happened. Instead Jay and Kayla insist that Kayla is sick. So Rebecca leaves work and takes Kayla home. Jay follows them.
It doesn’t take long before Kayla blurts out the whole thing to her mom. Rebecca is an attorney and immediately wants to call 9-1-1. Jay talks her out of it, insisting that both he and Kayla will go to prison. Since Rebecca wasn’t there and Jay is a compulsive liar, she’s left trying to cover up a possible murder to protect her only child.
Then Brittany’s father shows up demanding to speak with Kayla because Brittany never arrived at the ballet retreat. Rebecca makes up a story that is quickly proven false and he keeps returning, threatening to go to the police. Jay convinces Rebecca they have to somehow discredit him. So Rebecca goes to see her friend in the prosecutor’s office (you can tell this is Canadian because in the United States that would be the District Attorney’s office). Rebecca tells her friend that Brittany appears to be missing and her father beat her. The cops go to question Brittany’s dad and he points the finger at Kayla and Jay.
Here’s the problem with what the parents have done so far. Brittany’s dad never called the cops, so if they’d just been patient and kept quiet nothing would’ve happened, but now that they’ve gone to the prosecutor’s office, the police are involved and there’s an investigation. The cops quickly discover: 1. Brittany’s phone was last pinged on a cell tower downtown near where Jay lives in an apartment with his girlfriend. He found Brittany’s phone in his car and never told Rebecca. 2. Kayla’s asthma inhaler was found near the bridge where Brittany’s phone pinged before that. So now they’ve connected Jay and Kayla to Brittany’s disappearance. 3. Kayla had sent several threatening emails to Brittany telling her she was going to kill her for taking away her boyfriend. 4. Brittany’s dad is loved by his neighbors who claim he never hit Brittany even though she was a wild child who took off with her boyfriend without telling her dad. 5. Brittany had run away six times in the past six months.
Brittany’s dad keeps coming around, desperate to find his daughter. He scares them enough that Rebecca and Jay wait until dark then sneak into Brittany’s back yard to plant Brittany’s cell phone. Her dad catches them and they run him over with their car, killing him. They go home and wash the car together, both aware they’ve turned into murderers like their daughter.
The next morning Brittany appears on their doorstep telling them the whole thing was a prank that served two purposes: 1. It gave Brittany a weekend to spend with her boyfriend. 2. It pushed Jay and Rebecca back together the way Kayla wanted. They tell Brittany to go home. Minutes later, the cops show up to arrest them.
10 out of 10 stars. From the very beginning you know something’s not quite right, but you can’t put your finger on it. Then it blindsides you. But if you look at the film, the clues were all there.