The Invention of Lying (2.5 of 4)

The Invention of Lying is a half-interested look at a world where people are unable to lie. Ricky Gervais plays Mark Bellison who discovers one day at a bank that he can “say something that wasn’t.” He must phrase it this way because, truth and falsity don’t exist. I guess, they have no words for them.

Women tell friends their babies are ugly, men tell women: “Yes, that dress makes you look fat.” And relationships are very open. What all this does is create a world of very hard-hearted people. Everyone is used to hearing truths whether positive or negative. And because of this when you say something–you are believed, period. No matter what you say, the person you say it to will take your word for it. Now imagine one person can lie. Really interesting right?!

So we set up a romantic comedy in this creative world. But…

It slowly turns from a funny script filled with dead-pan jokes and romance to a theological mess.

Ricky Gervais is an atheist. He has been an atheist since he was eight years old and “really started thinking about it.” Yes, EIGHT years old the time period when this very funny and creative man “really started thinking, about God.” Gervais once said after becoming an atheist that he “no longer needed a reason for his existence, just a reason to live.” This truly breaks my heart, and I intend to pray for Gervais as often as I think about him. He’s an incredible comedian and talented actor/writer/director I’d love for him to have a reason for his existence and his life.

In his movie, The Invention of Lying, his character in an effort to comfort his dying mother, tells her that she won’t go on into nothingness, but rather go live with all her friends in a giant mansion in a beautiful place. The doctors overhear everyone believes (cause they have to via the premise) and word gets out FAST that there is some sort of after-death experience.

So Gervais tries to create God and the afterlife. And at first, it’s funny. He writes commandments on two Pizza Hut boxes and does his best to create an ethical system based on his fiction. And of course it leads to chaos. He becomes a world-wide celebrity and continues to lie to keep it going and profit.

It’s an insulting film, I think that’s why I didn’t like it. It tells me that religion can’t work if it’s conducted honestly. That faith is meaningless, and that deception is the true king. And that is dangerous. Actually, I think the film is dangerous. Gervais is probably proud of that. The movie is funny, memorable, well-acted, mostly well-directed (I have some complaints with background images that kill the true/false non-existence premise that might have been avoided…); it’s really clever, and has some of my favorite actors in cameos–these things are what make it dangerous.

The Invention of Lying is subtle and deadly. It’s good for a laugh and if you like Gervais it’s a must, but watch out or you’ll get lied to.

    • June 21st, 2010

    Saw the movie and I agree with your review except for the raiting. I’d give it (1 of 4).

  1. Perceptive analysis. Interesting that the character tries to make up an ethical system. From what ground?

    • He attempts to make things better for everyone. He lies about everyone getting a mansion after they die if they are nice to each other.
      Interesting that his atheist ethical view follows the Bible-based golden rule. Do unto others, as you would have done unto you. . .
      Gervais should start “really thinking about it” again.

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