THE GOOD LIAR – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Helen Mirren — steely, badass, worldly wise Helen Mirren — as a meek, naive widow simply ripe for the picking by Ian McKellen’s silver-fox dating-app con artist? That… seems unlikely. Helen Mirren, you say?

“Sometimes casting alone gives a movie’s game away right from the get-go, doesn’t it?” is the inevitable default position anyone with even a modicum of movie knowledge takes into The Good Liar. We cannot even be faulted for this; the movie has to be counting on it, in fact. For part of how this movie is being marketed is on the strength of its undeniably terrific cast, on our previous awareness of the sheer joy that absolutely does come from watching two masters of their craft at work. What’s more, Liar is the first time Mirren and McKellen have appeared onscreen together (they’ve costarred on stage before), and that only works as a selling point if you know what sort of actorly reputations they bring with them, and why it might be exciting to watch them square off. Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).