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MOVIES: Lie With Me - Review

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Lie With Me is a queer French melodrama from director Olivier Peyon that echoes films like Call Me By Your Name and Summer of 85, focusing on the character Guillaume de Tonquedec’s Stéphane Belcourt who returns to his hometown of Cognac for the first time in 35 years to promote a distillery. Whilst there – we get to see him discover a new connection with the son of his first love; Victor Belmondo’s Lucas. The film uses this as a structure to give us a look into the flashbacks to first love at 17 which propel the storyline forward; heartache, desire, passion – everything you’ll have seen before and you know exactly what’s happening before it fully gets underway.

The switch between the 80s and the present day gives the Summer of 85 comparisons and the stylistic nature of the costumes and small rural French town is beautifully captured by Olivier Peyon with an air of gravitas. We get to see the passion of the 80s narrative blend with Stephane telling Lucas more and more about his secretive dad; past traumas coming out: and you see the relationship develop between both characters as Lucas searches for answers about what his dad was like. There’s also the core relationship between Stéphane and Thomas – with Jérémy Gillet and Julien De Saint Jean having near unmatched chemistry that represents the thrill of first; forbidden love perfectly – with Peyon dipping his toes into the messy waters of friendship and betrayal.

The film’s themes are contextual and strong: it wants you to be true to who you are and live that. It’s a first love movie; touching and with the heart that it has to give us in spades. Yet despite everything you can’t help but feel like Lie With Me is exactly the film that you know it’s going to be going in – there’s an air of familiarity here like you’re stepping into well-trodden waters. The tropes are there and from minute one you’re daring it to do something different.

Unfortunately; it can’t escape its genre trappings – which is a real shame; as there’s a lot of goodwill here and the performances give the film the energy that it needs to thrive. Perhaps the most notable surprise of the film is discovering just how much Victor Belmondo looks like Jean-Paul Belmondo, the resemblance is uncanny – and he’s certainly a highlight of Lie With Me. It's a shame the rest of the film can't live up to the potential.

Lie With Me is available in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema

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