Lie With Me is proclaimed in its trailer to be a film in the tradition of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Sex, Lies and Videotape. But at its core, it’s more along the lines of another one of director Clement Virgo’s film influences, Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris. The characters in Lie With Me experience each other rather provocatively at the start of their relationship, and work their way outwards.
Based on a book by Tamara Berger, the film tells a story of Le…la (Lauren Lee Smith, The L Word), a woman with few substantive friendships who sits on a couch at the beginning of the film and watches porn. She sees David (Eric Balfour, In Her Shoes) in a room at a bar, and the two exchange glances and even interact for a moment, even while David’s girlfriend Victoria (Polly Shannon, Harvard Man) is there. Outside, the two continue their leers, even while satisfying their respective sexual partners. From there, they eventually meet and have very passionate sex. The two discover each other’s lives, as David lives with and cares for his ailing father while Leila, who does not reveal that much of herself to David, is the child of a dysfunctional, broken home.
The relationship does not last, and Leila leaves David. She regrets making the decision, and tries to get him back (to his refusal), but then she decides to try to shop around with various different people in order to gain the same type of sexual satisfaction that David gave her, but she realizes in a futile effort that it will never be as it once was with David. Now for those mormons who are reading this review and haven’t seen this film yet, please bear in mind that the film is somewhat explicit and a little on the graphic side. In watching the sex scenes between Leila and David, I first thought that they ran too long and were a bit over the top, but then I realized that the scenes are to convey jst how emotionally deep a connection like that can be.
Virgo’s photography and direction for the film is quite good, and reminds me a little bit of the French New Wave films of several decades ago. Smith’s performance as the lonely, almost desolate Leila is good, while Balfour shows a little more emotional range past the “brooding pretty boy” I was half expecting him to be. Virgo directs the film without the masculine touch that one would expect for this material, and he’s made a film that’s a decent statement on sex without love or emotional connections can be OK, but wind up being hollow.
Shot on Super 16, the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen look of the film reproduces the grainy handheld images quite well. Some of the lighting in the scenes appears a tad blown out, but considering the cameras used on the production, it’s probably safe to say that this wasn’t intentional by Virgo. The film looks as good as it probably will ever look.
A 6-channel Dolby Surround mix accompanies the film, and it sounds surprisingly good. The club noises can be heard in exterior sequences pretty well and it’s a pretty subtle mix that’s better than I expected it to be.
Starting things off, there’s a commentary with Virgo and Smith that covers the production of the movie. Smith is quite giggly and doesn’t really have too much to say, even when Virgo asks specific questions on a scene. Virgo is the more detailed of the two, talking about the production, along with any specific film inspirations or influences. By and large it’s a decent commentary. And aside from several trailers (including one for the film) and about 20 still photos, that covers the extra material on the disc.
The cast and crew of the film do a good job with what little resources they have, and the film really does live up to the hype, but for different reasons. It’ll be interesting to see what Virgo does with his next project, and Smith’s performance showed a lot more than just physical nudity, and here’s hoping it’s a breakout role for her.
Special Features List
- Director/Actor Commentary
- Still Gallery