Have you seen “The Good Lie”? If your answer is no, do yourself a favor and head to the nearest Redbox to rent it.
I didn’t expect to spend my Valentine’s Day watching this kind of a movie, but I figured it was okay since I already did my part of being a girly girl Friday night/early this afternoon (I saw “All About That Bass” singer Meghan Trainor in concert, and followed it up with seeing Fifty Shades of Grey today. No shame here!). Stereotypically, a girl is supposed to spend Valentine’s Day watching sappy romance movies, not movies about refugee camps and strife.
So here I was, spending my evening alone – which I was perfectly okay with – and I realized I hadn’t seen some of the most recent new-to-Redbox-movies. A friend mentioned me “The Good Lie” was out, remembering how I’d seen the trailer in theaters and desperately wanted to see it. Thank goodness for best friends, right?
Holy cow. I have a massive headache and I’m sure if you looked at my face right now, there would be a faint hint of tear streaks on my cheeks. It is one of the most heartbreaking, inspiring, loving, admirable, amazing stories I have heard/seen in a longggg time. Good lord. OK, I’ll stop raving about it to tell you what it’s actually about.
A lot of people don’t watch the news, sadly, but I think a lot of them will remember hearing about this somewhere. “The Good Lie” is about the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan, the name for more than 20,000 kids displaced after the war. Their villages were attacked during the Second Sudanese Civil War, leaving many dead, and many more children orphans. Now refugees, the seven main children in this movie banded together to walk all the way from Sudan to Kenya, just to find out the army attacked there, too. They join a whole new group of refugees walking to Ethiopia where a refugee camp has been set up. (I would love to volunteer in one of these camps.)
They spend about 13 years in this camp, hoping, praying, waiting to be chosen to be taken to America to have a new life. Finally, these four now-adults are selected along with 3600 others for “resettlement.” The three boys are sent to Kansas City, while their sister is sent to Boston because apparently there wasn’t a family willing to take her, too. We all know how hard it is to say goodbye to family, but can you imagine saying goodbye to a sister you had been through so much tragedy and loss with just to be split up for God knows how long? That was a part that bugged me. They weren’t told when they would see each other again or if there was even a possibility for visits. How can you work for one of these resettlement agencies and be okay with NOT being reassuring to refugees coming to your country for safety/a new start? Like, seriously, have a heart. All they’re told is, “That’s just the way it is,” or “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do.” My response, Well did you even try?
The boys are left no choice but to say goodbye to her and turn their attention to their new surroundings. The agency people don’t explain anything to them (how a phone works, what a refrigerator is for, what a toothbrush looks like), so you’re left feeling just as culture shocked as they are.
Finally, an angel in disguise arrives. Reese Witherspoon plays Carrie Davis, a worker from the employment agency in charge of finding them jobs, which we can all admit would be a pretty tough job given that these guys have never actually “worked” and learned American skills, such as putting faucets together at an assembly line, stocking the many different cereal brands, etc. One of them, Jeremiah, works at the grocery store. He’s sent outside several times a week with one or two shopping carts full of expired food. The look on his face when his boss tells him to just dump it in the trash is too much for words. (He later ends up quitting this job for handing out food to a woman dumpster-diving.)
I won’t give you the whole summary because I want you to watch it. I promise you it will be the most rewarding two hours you’ve had in a long time.
According to IMDB, the estimated budget for this movie was 20 billion. Surprisingly, they only earned back 2 million. That’s it. That’s pretty sad.
What I like about this movie is that the main actors who play the siblings were once either child soldiers, children of refugees, or refugees themselves.
Be prepared to cry when you watch this. Whether it’s watching the children see dead bodies floating down a river as they realize the group they were traveling with has just been attacked, or watching one of their siblings die from a lack of food and water, or just seeing the lengths in general they go to to survive (they drink their own urine at one point to stay hydrated)… you’ll need the tissues handy. What moved me the most was seeing how utterly and completely devoted to the people in their village they were. They give a stick to fight off hyenas and some bread to a man clearly dying from a gun shot wound, one takes the shoes off his feet as he’s boarding an airplane to give to someone else not chosen to go to America, etc. The list is endless. That kind of love is a diamond. Selfless, complete, honest, genuine. And the kindness these guys show to the Americans, even when they aren’t being treated very well or made to feel welcome, is heartbreaking. It’s almost sickeningly sad seeing them so immensely grateful to have this opportunity.
::sigh:: Watch it, I know you’ll love it.
To donate to those still affected by this tragedy: www.lostboysfilm.com/take.html