The Invention of LyingOctober 2, 2009
A comedy set in a world where no one has ever lied, until a writer seizes the opportunity for personal gain.
Release Year: 2009
Rating: 6.4/10 (45,506 voted)
Critic's Score: 58/100
Stars: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill
It's a world where everyone tells the truth – and just about anything they're thinking. Mark Bellison is a screenwriter, about to be fired. He's short and chunky with a flat nose – a genetic pool that means he won't get to first base with Anna, the woman he loves. At a bank, on the spur of the moment he blurts out a fib, with eye-popping results. Then, when his mother's on her deathbed, frightened of the eternal void awaiting her, Mark invents fiction. The hospital staff overhear his description of Heaven, believe every word, and tell others. Soon Mark is a prophet, his first inventive screenplay makes him rich, and he's basically a good guy. But will that be enough for Anna?
Writers: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
(as Nate Corddry)
In a world where everyone can only tell the truth… …this guy can lie.
Release Date: 2 October 2009
Filming Locations: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $7,027,472
(4 October 2009)
(13 December 2009)
Did You Know?
The film's credits are set in the Windsor typeface, used notably in the films of Woody Allen.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs:
John Hodgman, as the "Wedding Overseer" looks to be wearing a crucifix. However, upon close examination, it is actually a likeness of Mark holding the "two pizza boxes", matching the image behind the "Wedding Overseer".
[to Anna's mom]
Ok, you're annoying me. Your voice is shrill. Goodbye.
constantly funny it may not be, but clever it is
There is a certain re-training of the mind that a film expects of us in
order to fully enjoy the place it seeks to take us. This film, in the
first act we are taught, in a rather funny way that the world of this
film is to say the least – honest. Everyone coldly delivers, whether
asked or not – exactly what is on their mind. It takes a good 1/4 of
the film to fully understand exactly the world where there is no
opposite to truth. And those moments are worth the price of admission
As a viewer I enjoyed the random interactions that a world where truth
is embedded in the framework of all social interaction. With no
By the time Gervais comes across the knowledge that an alternate way of
communication exists in "saying what wasn't" we embark on a tale of a
man who essentially won the "lying Lottery".
The humour is subtle, the contrast of religious themes are not so, and
that may have been the weakest of elements in the film. Sadly those who
think there is a single element of disrespect towards religion from
within the world of the film are I believe incorrect. While religious
digs may have been the impetus for the films creation, from within the
film, Mark's character seems to make a clear delineation between an
evil lie and a white lie. And his character never seems comfortable for
too long with a lie that affects the lives of many.
The film does have a one of the more sweet and quietly powerful scenes
where Mark creates an alternate afterlife for his mother. Because I
don't view this film through a filter of religious expectation I found
this scene to be simply powerful and poignant.
I enjoyed it, as did my partner. We talked the whole way home, and
recreated some of the laughs on the way to the car. That is not a lie.