The Invention of Lying – A Movie Review
I had a Christian upbringing - it was hard work to eventually become an atheist; probably writing this article is the last milestone on this path.
My family was not religiously religious, but more in a ‘I am really rather quite sure that there is something to believe in and so better do, just in case there is a heaven and a hell let’s make sure we end up in the latter’ kind of way.
Being indoctrinated during early childhood years doesn’t help to find true freedom in this respect. What is put into a child’s brain is embedded on an emotional level and even now that ‘I know what I want’ there is always this little movie playing in the back of my head in which I am sitting on a kitchen chair while my grandma is doing the cooking and telling me about how human kind and all the animals were saved by Noah’s arch and why it is important to be a good girl. Hm!
And now there is this silly little movie called ‘The Invention of Lying’. I call it ‘silly’ and ‘little’ because there is no big action, no grand psychological twists, and no spectacular locations – in a nutshell: It’s not an epic drama. It is a movie that rather calmly flows with sweet little funny moments sprinkled in, a bit Monty Python-esk at times – and it seems to split the nation into three: I went to see it with a group of five, and our poll seems to be rather representative: one hated it dearly, three thought it was watchable and I just loved it! For me it is the best movie I have seen in a long time. And I say this despite Ricky Gervais playing the lead role and directing.
This guy confuses me. I didn’t like ‘The Office’, but I always liked him in interviews. As a true comic he is offending himself more than anybody else and hence one can’t really blame him and thus letting him get away with things. So I went to see ‘The Invention of Lying’ with no expectation, all we wanted was a girl’s night out and there were no other movies available which seemed to suit the crowd more.
And then I got drawn into this time warp, into all these moments where he pulled my childhood memories out of the back of my mind and put them onto the big screen. When he is reading his commandments, describing the man in the sky, confronted with questions about the looks and location, making things up as he went along: Oh my goodness! An exact replica of a conversation with grandma after I came home from Sunday school where I had been presented with an image of a man wrapped into a duvet cover with long beard and long hair. I knew back then that something was not quite right; apparently I already had a tendency to explore things scientifically at a young age.
However, the image still stuck in my head. To now see it repeated in this ridiculous scene eventually set my mind free. Thank you! Thank you! Eventually I am not feeling alone in this weirdness anymore. Similarly nicely depicted is the use of a white lie when his mum is dying. This is how the big religions made their way to world power: Tell scared people something that makes sense at the time and that make them happy or at least puts them at ease. But soon they will start to twist this ‘truth’, every answer will bear more questions, times will change and it either won’t make sense anymore – or it might still make sense but nobody will know about it anymore; over the centuries everything will have become ritualized and people will have forgotten why they are doing certain things a certain way.
Just to give you an example: The other day I saw Jamie Oliver on his
But back to the movie: It addresses all sorts of these things in a rather funny way, sometimes subtle sometimes with a slash hammer. Marrying a genetic match to give the best genes to your offspring – of course you don’t want to have fat children with snub-noses, do you? It doesn’t matter that you don’t love, don’t even like the guy with the money and the perfect jaw line; you will marry him. Your mum tells you to do so, that love and happiness is overrated and that all that counts is the best you can give to your future children. That’s the rules!
What a ridiculous idea, isn’t it! I couldn’t imagine a place anywhere in the world where women would be forced to enter relationships in circumstances like those, or could I?
So yes, it is just a silly little movie, but it raises questions on an emotional level which can be rather scary, and that is why it is dividing the nation… and that is why I have become a big fan of Ricky Gervais now: He risks to be shallow and to bore the ones who don’t get it, but at least they are not hurt. He is not lecturing, and in making it exactly this ‘silly little movie’ he allows the scared ones to dearly hate it.
See, whenever I dare hating a piece of big drama I feel utterly inadequate and stupid for not being able to get it. Big drama is always right! It’s the people who don’t understand its depth; hence they are silly and are not fit for criticism. In allowing it to be just a silly little movie Ricky Gervais is keeping the door open to allow people to call him stupid, to just walk away and forget about it.
For me however it always will be a funny little silly gem in my heart!
Live & Let Live
Motivation & Fun