Before walking into the theater, I knew seeing acting legends Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan together would be fun — and it is.
In “The Good Liar,” McKellan plays con man Roy Courtnay, who meets lonely widows via online dating and then scams them out of their money. One of his targets is Betty McLeish (Mirren), who has a sparkle in her eye, a generous spirit, and (most importantly) lots of money. As Betty falls for Roy, she lets him move into her house — in a separate bedroom, because the relationship is not physical — and they seem to develop feelings for each, despite his plan to swindle her for every cent she has.
As with all good con artist movies, “The Good Liar” involves a lot more than meets the eye, including one of Roy’s side hustles with his partner Vincent (Jim Carter), as well as Betty’s skeptical grandson Steven (Russell Tovey), who senses all is not right in the relationship. As with all stories in this genre, there’s a third act twist, but not the one I expected.
Jeffrey Hatcher did a fine job adapting Nicholas Searle’s novel, and you can see the fun Mirren and McKellan had with these roles. Director Bill Condon wisely keeps his stars on screen as much as possible so we can enjoy their crackling chemistry, and they do not disappoint.
I give “The Good Liar” an 8 out of 10.
Previously on Harris Online…
- My list of the Nine Best Con Man Movies.