Monday, March 20th, 2023

Queerguru’s Andrew Hebden reviews LIE WITH ME “a tale about nostalgia, love and heartbreaking loss”

Lie WIth Me, based on the novel by Philippe Besson, has a wistful charm that sits with you long after the film is over. It’s a tale about nostalgia, love and heartbreaking loss that begs you to feel nothing but kindness to all its characters. 

Stephane Belcourt (Guillame de Tonquedec) is reluctantly visiting his small hometown as a brand ambassador for a cognac company. He is an acclaimed writer who occasionally turns his hand to commercial jobs in between his novels. He is surprised to realize that one of his hosts is Lucas Andrieu (Victor Belmondo) the son of his first lover Thomas Andrieu (Julien de Saint Jean) . It brings back a flood of painful memories. At 17 years old Stephane stands out at school as obviously different, though not yet out as gay. He has a secret crush on Thomas who is one of the handsome cool kids. Stephane is overwhelmed when Thomas plucks him out and initiates a series of secret, sexual rendezvous. Their love is joyful and passionate but Thomas insists that it never be spoken about or acknowledged. When Thomas breaks it off, without explanation or warning, Stephane is left with questions that seem destined never to be answered

It quickly becomes obvious that meeting Lucas is not an accident. Lucas is too attentive, he has read every book that Stephane has ever written. He knows all about Stephane’s life. Stephane finds the attention confusing and suspicious. Eventually, it is revealed that Thomas died by suicide leaving his son with his own set of unanswered questions. LIe WIth Me  is the story of how Stephane and Lucas are able to give each other closure. They each have a unique insight into separate parts of the puzzle of Thomas’ life. They are made whole by each other. 

The story is told in parallel lines. Stephane’s meetings with Lucas are interlaced with flashbacks to his time with Thomas. It makes the past feel as close as the present, giving a layer of powerful immediacy. It shows how events from long ago continue to shape who they are now.

Despite the tragedy at its heart, the film rejects mawkishness. In parts, it is even very funny. The character’s pain reveals their humanity in all its absurd messiness. Guillaume de Tonquedec portrays the writer Stephane as equally capable of saying the toe-curlingly wrong thing as he is of achieving sublime prose. This adds to the idea at the heart of the movie that life can be brought back into balance. In the case of director Olivier Peyon’s charming Lie With Me the balance is achieved by finally being able to see life through someone else’s eyes.


BFI Flare London's LGBTQ+ Film Festival runs Wed, 15 Mar 2023 – Sun, 26 Mar 2023



Queerguru Contributing Editor ANDREW HEBDEN is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing, and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement, he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre, and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.

Posted by queerguru  at  19:11


Genres:  coming of age, drama, international

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