User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 35
  2. Negative: 8 out of 35
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  1. AmandaD.
    Jun 8, 2002
    10
    The movie was beautifully written and the performances the actors gave were incredibly superb!
  2. GilbertMulroneycakes:BehindTheMusic
    Dec 2, 2002
    9
    Too repulsive to sit through....iiiis the point. Well done. It does require you to open your mind a little, though; to try and see Big John in the context of a human being. It's hard to watch. But it's worth it.
  3. MichaelF.
    May 31, 2002
    10
    Wow. This was one hell of a movie. So incredibly touching and moving. And it hit the nail right on the head for coming-of-age films. Brian Cox was great, but Paul Franklin Dano out did him. That did was great. The direction was unbelievable. The visuals were great. Even better screenplay. I rented the R-rated version because I was a bit nervous about the subject matter, and it wasn't Wow. This was one hell of a movie. So incredibly touching and moving. And it hit the nail right on the head for coming-of-age films. Brian Cox was great, but Paul Franklin Dano out did him. That did was great. The direction was unbelievable. The visuals were great. Even better screenplay. I rented the R-rated version because I was a bit nervous about the subject matter, and it wasn't anything worth freaking out about, yeah it was a bit disurbing at times. The only scene that was removed from the R-rated cut was the dad and girlfriend sex scene. This movie was ....over by the MPAA. It's one great movie, even teens can and should watch this move. One of 2001's 6 best films. Expand
  4. RichardC.
    Jun 29, 2002
    9
    Slices through all of man's and life's emotions.
  5. CharilieF.
    Jun 8, 2002
    10
    Jeff V and Khanh N are just fucking stupid. There is nothing in this film that is worth freaking out about, content-wise. It's unbelievable. Powerful and great.
  6. RogerE.
    Jun 8, 2002
    10
    This is a flat-out great film. Khanh N and Jeff V are f.... insane and should NEVER be allowed to review anything, whether it's a film, a book, or a bar of soap. This is a great film. Why this film got an NC-17 rating is crazy, any film w/ a pedophile gets an NC-17 rating for some bizarre reason. Great acting and it's emotionally powerful. Go out and rent this movie, This is a flat-out great film. Khanh N and Jeff V are f.... insane and should NEVER be allowed to review anything, whether it's a film, a book, or a bar of soap. This is a great film. Why this film got an NC-17 rating is crazy, any film w/ a pedophile gets an NC-17 rating for some bizarre reason. Great acting and it's emotionally powerful. Go out and rent this movie, there's no guy on guy or old guy on young guy action so don't be nervous. Expand
  7. MichaelM.
    Mar 10, 2002
    8
    I saw this movie on a whim one night. I left disturbed. It was a good movie. While I would agree that placing a child-molester in the role of protagonist is unusual, I nonetheless felt somewhat sympathetic for him. However, I was even more sympathetic for those he took advantage of who were spurred to such drastic measures at the end.
  8. ChadS.
    Apr 18, 2003
    8
    Big John wouldn't seem as sympathetic if we actually saw him sodomize Howie. In Todd Solondz's "Happiness", Dylan Baker's victim stares at a toilet of blood discharge, as a result of anal sex. In "L.I.E.", there's an embrace but nothing more. Big John has scruples. Sleeping with the kid is delayed because Howie is emotionally vulnerable, as a result of his Big John wouldn't seem as sympathetic if we actually saw him sodomize Howie. In Todd Solondz's "Happiness", Dylan Baker's victim stares at a toilet of blood discharge, as a result of anal sex. In "L.I.E.", there's an embrace but nothing more. Big John has scruples. Sleeping with the kid is delayed because Howie is emotionally vulnerable, as a result of his father's arrest. Big John is a monster, but a gentleman. Brian Cox is so charismatic, we can't help liking him; even when Howie stumbles upon semi-nude photos of his current lover, taken when he was just a boy. Cox is stellar. There's a brief scene where he admits his shame, and we believe him. Director Michael Cuesta is likewise. He takes chances. The way he handles Howie's ignorance of his father's whereabouts, breaks free from the rigid structures of convential screenwriting. First we think, the movie has hit a lag, but then we realize, this is how life would really play out. Paul Frank Dano is very effective as Howie. "L.I.E." is a disturbing movie, but disturbing in ways you didn't count on. Expand
  9. StinkyLulu
    Jul 25, 2003
    8
    Not perfect -- but it's so well-acted (brian cox & paul dano, obviously, but billy kay and bruce altman too) and the story really goes there: how males (boys & men) go to sex to get through the scary emotional squishiness of vulnerability. the film is eeky creepy freaky, sure, but that's the point... oh, btw, i don't think BigJohn's a gentleman: i think he's a bitNot perfect -- but it's so well-acted (brian cox & paul dano, obviously, but billy kay and bruce altman too) and the story really goes there: how males (boys & men) go to sex to get through the scary emotional squishiness of vulnerability. the film is eeky creepy freaky, sure, but that's the point... oh, btw, i don't think BigJohn's a gentleman: i think he's a bit stunned by Howie's intelligence & willingness to go along...and backs off cuz Howie's clearly not his preferred kind of victim... this film has a real respect for a possibly gay kid figuring out things in a sexually-screwed-up world... really powerful film... Expand
  10. BenW.
    Nov 29, 2003
    10
    There is NO WAY this movie deserved an NC-17 rating (or even an R rating for that matter), just because a movie is about gay teenagers the MPAA doesn't want people to see it. But anywho, this movie was brilliant. Paul Franklin Dano doles out one of the best debut performances in memory like nothing and Brian Cox probably deserved an Oscar nomination. However, I'm sure part of There is NO WAY this movie deserved an NC-17 rating (or even an R rating for that matter), just because a movie is about gay teenagers the MPAA doesn't want people to see it. But anywho, this movie was brilliant. Paul Franklin Dano doles out one of the best debut performances in memory like nothing and Brian Cox probably deserved an Oscar nomination. However, I'm sure part of the reason I absolutely loved this movie so much was because I could identify with Dano's character in many, many ways. But still, even if you can't or don't identify with a character in the movie, SEE IT ANYWAY! I loved it, you will too, f... what the critics say. A+ Expand
  11. Sep 18, 2011
    10
    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'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 veryL.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. Expand
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. 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.
  2. Paints a sincere and serious portrait of the seductiveness of evil and the self-destructive nature of depravity.
  3. 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.