Katie (Kacey Rohl) has a big problem.
She’s beautiful. Young. Vibrant. She’s a talented dancer. She has all the potential in the world, friends who value her, a father (Martin Donovan) who loves her, a loyal social media following, and a loving and devoted partner in Jennifer (Amber Anderson) who will do anything to take care of her, no matter the cost.
And for all this and more, it’s entirely based on one big lie in the latest psychological drama, White Lie, from writing/directing duo Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas. Opening with Katie’s morning ritual of shaving her head fresh to exude the image of a dying cancer patient, the film immediately introduces the grift at hand that permeates the auspicious world Katie’s created for herself.
Using her charitable platforms on social media as fronts to acquire cash, the only person that knows Katie’s secret is her drug dealer, and soon enough, his connection, Jabari (Thomas Olajide), a local doctor Katie seeks out to help produce false medical records to send as part of an application for one of her charities. And as you might guess, his services don’t come cheap.
At this point, the only person who doesn’t buy the con is her father, who instead renegs on loaning Katie anymore money, which she insists is for an experimental treatment in Seattle. The only way then is to turn to Jennifer who openly volunteers to provide the funds, aside from even joining Katie on her trip for her current treatments.
The only real hurdle thereafter, at first, is getting all the money in one big shot to pay Jabari. With funds unreachable online and the banks only allowing increments, it’s only a matter of time before Katie’s seemingly successful plot falls apart, creating a domino affect that corners Katie into potentially facing diar consequences for her swindle – that is, unless she can keep the lie going.
In the midst of all the upheaval and tumult Katie creates, White Lie is less so about her comeuppance, but rather all the foreboding that could lead up to it. The very crux of this story lies with her relationship with Jennifer, in that apart from Katie’s own hopeless impulses and her resolve regardless of what her own conscience and others may tell her, the main point of focus is how Jennifer begins to cope.
In a sense, White Lie is as much a love story as it is a psychological thriller about the chilling nature of a liar, briefly exploring Katie’s past at times and providing a glaring look at how they’ve influenced her to become who she is now. She knows it’s going to destroy her at some point, even if she’s not hurting anybody as she so claims, though it’s a claim that comes at the price of possibly losing all the people she’s taking for granted – particularly with Jennifer, with whom she feels she’s established her only real relationship with in years.
Calvin and Lewis craft an intriguing exploration of a person’s character in White Lie – one who isn’t merely just dishonest, but perpetually to the point where not only do they believe the lies they tell at certain times, but the lie manifests itself into a greater evil. It’s a fascinating story with immersive performances and a chilling score to accompany the film’s cerebral expositions throughout, and a deep, insightful message that empowers with vindication.
White Lie is now available from Rock Salt Releasing at Amazon.