TIFF review: White Lie by Norman Wilner / by Karen Harnisch

WHITE LIE CWC D: Yonah Lewis, Calvin Thomas. Canada. 96 min. Sep 7, 3 pm, TIFF 1; Sep 13, 6:30 pm, Scotiabank 4. Rating: NNNN

Toronto filmmakers Lewis and Thomas (Amy George, The Oxbow Cure) deliver another incisive psychological drama with this study of Katie (Kacey Rohl), a Hamilton college student who’s been faking a cancer diagnosis. White Lie shadows its anti-hero as she races to keep up the deception on every front.

It’s a character piece that plays like a thriller, with Katie risking everything – her reputation, her academic career, her relationship with her loving, supportive girlfriend (Amber Anderson) – as she doubles and triples down on the lie.

The directors milk remarkable tension by showing us how many holes in her story need to be patched before she’s exposed, and Rohl, who’s distinguished herself in Hannibal, The Magicians and Arrow, is riveting as a young woman who’s as much a victim of her compulsions as any of the people she’s defrauding.

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