It's been a rough couple of years to be a fan of Reese Witherspoon: when the actress picked up her Oscar eight years ago for “Walk the Line,” the universe appeared to have better things in store for her than, say, “This Means War.” Even when her films have worked out — the critically-endorsed Americana of “Mud” or the ripe Camembert pleasures of “Water for Elephants” — they haven't showcased her especially well. So it's nice to see Witherspoon getting busy again with a range of upscale projects this year.
We've already seen her recently in Atom Egoyan's West Memphis Three thriller “Devil's Knot” — a film best described as superfluous, though she does some fine, flavorful work in it. Will another true-life drama fare better for Witherspoon? In Philippe Falardeau's “The Good Lie,” she plays Carrie Davis, a straight-talking American assigned to help a quartet of Sudanese refugees settle in the US.
The first trailer for the film premiered recently, and it looks like schlockily uplifting stuff — as you might expect from producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. For Quebecois director Falardeau, it's his first English-language film — and his first of any tongue since his gentle classroom drama “Monsieur Lazhar” picked up a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nod.
“The Good Lie” will premiere on the fall festival circuit before opening on October 3. Watching the trailer, you may not get immediate awards vibes from the tone — but hey, that's what we thought about the somewhat similar-looking “The Blind Side” before it gathered commercial steam. Either way, Witherspoon has other irons in the fire, with a supporting role in Paul Thomas Anderson's “Inherent Vice” and a potentially meaty lead in Jean-Marc Vallee's “Wild.” (Canadian filmmakers certainly seem to be on her side these days.) Next up, hopefully: a worthy vehicle for her long-dormant comic gifts.
Check out the trailer for “The Good Lie” and tell us your thoughts.