Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25

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Critic Reviews

  1. 91
    An achievement of accomplished filmmaking and superb acting, L.I.E. puts you in the tough spot of unraveling how you feel about what you've viewed.
  2. 90
    Despite a little rough stuff here and there, this is one of the more insightful and affecting teen-trauma films of recent years.
  3. 90
    It's a powerful and provocative achievement from a first-time filmmaker of enormous promise.
  4. 90
    Gripping, troubling and deftly acted.
  5. Dano is a real find in this daunting role about a teenager's identity crisis. The subject of the movie is dicey but ultimately deeply rewarding.
  6. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Chris Kaltenbach
    One of the year's most unsettling -- and perhaps most illuminating -- films.
  7. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Superior and original filmmaking. You won't be able to take your eyes off it.
  8. L.I.E. has embraced tragedy, folly, perversity and outrageous dark humor. Like "Happiness" and "American Beauty," it takes an unflinching look at the darker aspects of life in American suburbia.
  9. At its best, L.I.E. offers a rich, dark, bitter slice of contemporary life. But the film's arty embellishments undermine its bleak vision, making it, in the end, a little too easy to take.
  10. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    It’s too bad that at the very end L.I.E. settles for an easy, melodramatic resolution; it flies in the face of everything that makes this perceptive, original movie so special.
  11. 75
    A mature, insightful and extremely well-acted study of a boy at a crossroads in his life, and a doomed, tortured man who, consciously or not, longs for some kind of redemption, before it's too late.
  12. An original, well-crafted plea that uses restraint instead of titillation to make a cautionary tale that aches with pathos and power.
  13. You know you're in the hands of a born filmmaker when he floods a scene with danger and excitement and, at the same time, tempers it with something more delicate -- a languor of the everyday.
  14. A disturbing and provocative study of adolescence and isolation.
  15. 75
    The ending is a cheap shot. An inconclusive ending would have been better, and perhaps more honest. The movie and the ending have so little in common that it's as if the last scene is spliced in from a different film.
  16. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    In a role that challenges our very notion of morality, Cox comes across as both predatory and fatherly, sometimes at once, in an acting turn as astonishing as it is stomach-turning.
  17. 70
    Preposterous enough to entertain.
  18. 70
    The subject matter is certainly controversial -- it's not every day that we see a sympathetic portrayal of a pedophile -- but Cuesta avoids the taint of salaciousness, thanks in large part to a brilliant performance from Cox.
  19. A paradox, balancing the contradictions and ambiguities of its characters and setting with a careful hand that rarely falters, even though the film seems dramatically thin at times.
  20. 63
    Depicts the bleak suburban milieu in a manner that avoids exploitation.
  21. 60
    Though I admire much of what Cuesta does in L.I.E., the film didn't give me much pleasure. I didn't find it unpleasant or repulsive; it's just that I felt he was too much outside the story.
  22. Mr. Showbiz
    Reviewed by: Kevin Maynard
    The real reason to see it is Brian Cox, best known for being filmdom's other Hannibal Lecter (he played the role in Michael Mann's "Manhunter").
  23. Paints a sincere and serious portrait of the seductiveness of evil and the self-destructive nature of depravity.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. Sep 18, 2011
    L.I.E. is simply the best movie on this subject ever made - and it has become a classic, world-wide, because of that. Stephen M. Ryder'sL.I.E. is simply the best movie on this subject ever made - and it has become a classic, world-wide, because of that. Stephen M. Ryder's screenplay is nothing short of genius. Brian Cox did the best acting of his career and would have stolen the entire movie were it not for the incredibly brave performance by Paul Dano. Great music, great cinematography and fabulous production on a very low budget. Heartfelt kudos to all involved, especially Ryder, Cox and Dano. Bravo bravissimo! And to hell with Jack Valenti and his bluenosed thugs at the MPAA. Full Review »