In what's shaping up as one of the most lackluster Sundance lineups in recent memory, your best option tonight may be picking the movie that's simply pretty good.
Notices have been fairly good overall for the documentaries Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times and Beats, Rhymes & Life, though I haven't had a chance to see them yet. Sound of My Voice was an intriguing premise that felt only halfway developed, and Septien was likewise (though considerably weirder). And no one has been exceptionally enthusiastic about Margin Call or Reagan.
Perhaps that leaves The Lie, actor/writer/director Joshua Leonard's (Humpday) adaptation of a T. C. Boyle short story about a man named Lonnie (Leonard) whose get-out-of-work fib snowballs into a life-examining moment. Leonard does a great job of setting up Lonnie and his wife (Jess Weixler) as urban hippies trying hard to justify their sell-outs in the name of “taking care of the family.” And there’s at least one genuinely brilliant set piece, with Weixler listening to wannabe musician Lonnie’s overly-earnest new recording. All that’s missing, really, is a little more build-up to the climactic confrontation. As interesting as the lessons learned here might be, it feels like they were learned just a bit too quickly.