Lie with Me, A Review



This is the fifth review of a film shown at this year’s NEWFEST in New York City…


Directed by Olivier Peyon
Written by Phillipe Besson, Olivier Peyon, and Vincent Poymiro


Based on the autobiographical novel Arrête avec tes Mensonges by Phillipe Besson, Lie With Me presents Stéphane Belcourt (Guillaume de Tonquédec), a renowned novelist, returning to his French hometown for the first time in 35 years to be feted by the local gentry. Memories reawaken: he was a bespectacled seventeen-year-old in high school (Jeremy Gillet as young Stéphane) who adored, from a distance, the popular and darkly handsome student Thomas Andrieu (Julien de Saint Jean). Aware of Stéphane’s admiration, Thomas sets up a clandestine meeting to guide the reserved boy to his first sexual experience. Increasingly intense assignations follow. The now fiftyish Stéphane distractedly navigates the weekend’s planned activities until spotting an attractive young English-speaking Frenchman guiding an American tour group. His dark allure distracts the famous writer’s eye. Stéphane learns that the guide is Lucas Andrieu (Victor Belmondo), Thomas’ son. As Stéphane cagily questions Lucas about Thomas’ hasty move to Spain 35 years prior, Lucas plays a similar game of cat-and-mouse, never admitting he knows more than he lets on. Mystery and misunderstanding produce heightened tensions between the older and younger man, moving each toward a reckoning with the troubled and hard-laboring Thomas who disappeared from their lives. De Tonquédec gives a masterful performance and the three young actors, Gillet, De Saint Jean, and Belmondo (grandson of Jean-Paul!), offer subtle renditions of youthful longing, confusion, and loss.


Allen Ellenzweig, a longtime contributor to this magazine, is a cultural writer based in New York City.