Directing duo Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas joined forces, once again, for their fourth feature film, White Lie. In this emotionally charged drama, a struggling university student fabricates having cancer for monetary gain and notoriety but, as her lies spiral out of control, she’s forced to go to great lengths to keep up with the charade.
Fully submerging herself in the role of a cancer patient battling the gruesome effects of chemotherapy, the film opens with a virile Katie (Kacey Rohl) shaving her head. From there, she takes her Oscar-worthy performance to school where she’s treated like a campus celebrity, taking pictures with the student body, receiving words of encouragement and donations – there are even fundraising endeavours set up in her honour on social media. The trouble starts for her when she’s asked to provide her medical records to receive financial aid. Coming up short, she ups the ante on deceiving all those around her.
Rohl is captivating as the unassuming shyster Katie. She masterfully conveys the character’s desperate attempts to achieve her sadistic goals. As unscrupulous as she is, there’s a lingering desire to unravel her psyche and find the root cause of her behaviour – even see her seek psychological help – due in part to Rohl’s performance and the direction of Lewis and Thomas.
Social media plays a big part in the film, but it fails to take an insightful look at the effects of “cancel culture”, which is a hot topic in today’s world. What happens when the platforms and fan followings that springboard people into the spotlight turn against them? How would an already mentally fragile Katie handle a fall from online grace?
Filled with its fair share of stunning twists and turns, White Lie is a sophisticated look at a scam as old as time and a reminder that what’s done in the dark always comes to light
Saturday, September 7, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 3 PM
Friday, September 13, Scotiabank, 6:30 PM