The Good Liar Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Roy Courtney (Ian McKellen) is an 80-year-old widower. He has a son, but Roy quarreled with him, and they do not communicate. Once, through an Internet site, Roy met 74-year-old Betty (Helen Mirren). They met in a restaurant, talked and seemed to like each other. Roy does not tell Betty what exactly he does, because Roy is a professional fraudster.

At the moment, he is hustling two British investors, persuading each of them to invest fifty thousand pounds in a new investment project, in which Russians are also participating, ready to invest as much as eight hundred thousand.

After a successful scam, Roy continues to get to know Betty. He pretends to have a sore knee, and Betty invites Roy to settle in her country house – there is a guest room. In this house, Roy does not have to climb the stairs, while his apartment is located on the top floor of a building without an elevator.

Betty has a grandson, Stephen (Russell Tovey), with whom she is very close. Steven is suspicious of Roy and asks Betty not to trust the new acquaintance, but Betty appears to be enamored with Roy, so Steven’s warnings go nowhere.

Roy finds out that Betty has received a good inheritance from her husband, so that she has a solid capital of almost three million pounds. And Roy invites Betty to invest this money in a profitable investment project to double his capital. Of course, Roy intends to steal this money as well.


The script of this film is based on the bestseller of the same name by British writer Nicholas Searle. Which, however, says little, because we know how filmmakers can disfigure a strong literary foundation by transferring it to the screen. The screenwriter here was Jeffrey Hatcher, who wrote the script for the film “Mr. Holmes” directed by Bill Condon, who also directed “The Good Liar”. By the way, Ian McKellen played the main role in “Mr. Holmes”.

When I found out about this film, I decided that I would definitely watch: Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren – the pillars of the British scene, the plot is based on a scam from the series “who outwit whom”, there is a detective component – in general, it should be interesting, I thought I.

Started watching. On the scam with the divorce of London investors, I didn’t understand, as they say, because it all looked extremely stupid and completely unreliable. Not to mention the fact that when in 2009 (the year in the picture is indicated quite clearly) people use some archaic terminals similar to the large calculators that were used in the last century to transfer funds to another account, this left one in some bewilderment .

And when Roy quickly got into Betty’s confidence and immediately suggested that she create a joint investment account in order to, as he said, “confuse the tax inspectors,” and Betty agreed to this, I realized that what was waiting for me was complete script insanity, so I watched it all purely out of a desire to find out what other idiocy they would wind up there.

They didn’t disappoint me! Besides the obvious things, like the fact that Betty is not a quiet sheep that was bred in no time by an elderly crook, they managed to pull such skeletons out of the closets there that Bagel and I had fun without ceasing, this idiocy looked very fresh.

However, I will not hide, I felt sorry for the excellent actors who struggled to somehow breathe life into this senile plot, but even their efforts never reconciled me with this film: well, you can’t put on such a madhouse, it’s just indecent. And I don’t really understand how Hellen Mirren and Ian McKellen signed up for this: didn’t they read the script? Or did they decide that since it is based on a well-known work, the screenwriter cannot take it into complete insanity?

McKellen had the hardest time with his character. Because Roy is an absolute villain. Of course, initially there was some kind of negative charm in him, but this impression quickly passed when it became clear who he was and how he acted. Bastard and scoundrel, nothing more to say.

Helen Mirren’s character was much more interesting – well, at least until the moment when the guns hung on the walls began to fire, and they fired mostly rotten tomatoes.

There it is immediately clear that she is not at all such a fool, pecking at the bait of a swindler who accidentally fell on a dating site, and Helen played her character quite interestingly. But a good acting game could not smooth out the stretches, illogicalities and frank absurdities of the script, and even in the finale, where all the cards were revealed, I wanted to collect these cards back in a pack and put it right in the screenwriter’s ear so that he would no longer regale the audience with this sour script vinaigrette .

More about this picture, in general, there is nothing to say. Good actors try to salvage a completely disastrous script, but even for them, the rescue operation is not very successful.

Well, in a postscript to this review, I will state in large detail what I saw in this film – for those who are not going to watch it. However, it is possible that after reading the plot moves of this picture, you just want to personally check whether everything is really done there, if I came up with something. And I don’t need to invent anything, here the screenwriter did his best.


PS And now – a summary of the plot of this lovely film.

Well, look. There is such a smart old man Roy. He breeds British rich mugs. Do you know how it breeds? He finds some investors who are ready to invest anonymously, God knows where, under the promise of a 100% profit, and the profit will be right now in a week, lures them with the fact that the Russians give an order of magnitude more, after which he gathers investors together with the “Russians” in one room and offers to make transfers to the appropriate joint investment account.

For transfers, they use such amazing machines, where on one line is the amount of the transfer, on the second line is the amount on the investment account. (I skimmed through the book, it talks about ordinary banking transactions online through bank accounts, so these cars are a triumph of scenario ideas.)

One of the investors asks the “Russian” if Putin gets a share of their income, the “Russian” is kind of offended, picturesquely cancels the transfer, and they leave. (In the Russian dub, this phrase was replaced with the question whether the Russians now have enough money to buy a normal football coach.)

At the same time, Roy explains to the British that they must double the investment – well, in order to restore the confidence of the Russians.

Those double, Roy again collects them in one room, this time everyone makes translations. Suddenly, a siren sounds, the “police” runs into the building, British investors urgently flee. The “police”, of course, is bogus, as well as the “Russians”, who are portrayed by some Slovaks and the butcher Vlad Rastakovskiy.

The butcher, however, overestimated his acting skills and tried to demand half share in income from Roy (a curious statement from a person who needed to portray a Russian for fifteen minutes), but Roy’s henchmen gouged his hand with an iron hammer, so Vlad will have to forget.

After that, Roy continues to spud Betty. He brings his constant accomplice Vincent, who pretends to be an investment adviser, to her house, and he promises Betty to double her money in five years. But she must combine her assets with Roy’s to confuse the IRS. (At this point, Bublik and I had to stop watching for a while in order to properly hoot with happiness.)

But Betty doesn’t get divorced right away. Roy continues to seduce her and offers to go for a drive around the world. He suggests Paris, Venice, but Betty wants to go to Berlin.

In the process of cheating, Roy is stumbled on the street by one of the British investors, whom he scammed for a hundred thousand pounds. Roy escapes to the subway, the investor runs after him, in the subway, in front of other people, Roy shoves the investor under the train (it was drawn very, very crookedly) and hides.

They go to Berlin. And there – surprise surprise – granddaughter Steve. He began to take them around Berlin, and during the walk it turned out quite by chance that Roy knew German. After that, Steve brought Roy and Betty to the same Berlin apartment. Where, Steve found out, Roy was wounded three years after the end of the war.

Roy did not deny it and said that in this apartment he and the German translator Hans Taub tried to arrest a Nazi. But the Nazi managed to escape, killing Hans and wounding him, Roy.

However, Steve found out that everything was somewhat different. The Nazi killed Roy. And the German Hans Taub was wounded. And he decided to change his identity to the British Roy Courtney. So Roy Courtney is actually the German Hans Taub. That’s what he secretly reads Der Spiegel, damn it!

But even this small revelation did not change Betty’s determination, upon her return from Berlin, to combine her money with Roy-Hans’ money into a joint investment account. At the same time, Roy secretly tells Vincent that as soon as the aunt transfers the money, he will immediately withdraw everything entirely from the account, without leaving her a penny, and fade into retirement.

At Betty’s house, under Vincent’s guidance, they fill out the paperwork. Betty doubts that it is wise to transfer all the money to the joint account, and then Roy says that he will also transfer all his money – 3 million 867 thousand pounds. Well then, Betty transfers 2.5 million – all that she has.

Vincent says that they must choose a code word so that only they have access to the account. Betty suggests the word “lilies”.

After that, Roy is left to go to the toilet with the terminal in order to immediately drain all the money to another account, but he is not looking for simple ways. Roy tells Betty that his son showed up in town, with whom he does not talk, Betty invites him to meet with his son.

Roy stuffs the terminal into his briefcase, says goodbye to Betty, and drives into town. There he drinks a bottle of whiskey in his apartment and reaches into his briefcase behind the terminal. And the terminal – bye-bye!

Roy rushes back to Betty’s house and finds that the house is empty, there are no things. But there is a chair in which Betty sits with a terminal in her hands. She had already transferred her money to another account, and now she intends to talk to Roy-Hans. Every time he lies in answering a question, she will transfer fifty thousand pounds from his account to another.

Betty reminded Hans of their distant childhood. When she was Lily Schroeder, the daughter of the factory owner Schroeder. Fifteen-year-old Hans Taub came to the Schroeder house to teach English to thirteen-year-old Lily.

Once Hans arrived early and had to wait for Lily downstairs. In the next room, the three Lily sisters were fooling around and dancing. One of the sisters, Hansi, invited Hans to dance with her. Hans in the dance began to brazenly climb to the girl with kisses, and the sisters yelled at him. Then Hans tore off the hem of her silk dress from the girl. The sisters were completely indignant and told Hans to go study with Lily.

Hans was so dissatisfied with the fact that he was yelled at that when he came to the second floor to Lily, he took and raped the girl – that’s such a dashing English teacher he is. However, it didn’t take him more than a minute – well, you know, when you are young, it doesn’t happen like that. It all ended very quickly, Betty said with meaning in her voice.

And then Frau Schroeder came and ordered Hans to go downstairs immediately – Mr. Schroeder was told about the boy’s behavior in the music room. Mr. Schroeder looked at Hansi’s torn hem, at the weeping raped Lily, and ordered the rascal Hans to get out of his house immediately.

He got out, but dashed off a denunciation of the manufacturer, accusing him of treason. The manufacturer was shot, money and factories were taken away, Frau Schroeder committed suicide, and a bomb hit the house where four sisters lived and everyone died except Lily.

Then the Russians came, Lily, as Betty said, did terrible things to survive. And she learned to lie. Became a very good liar. (Attention, the title of the film has been detected.)

Well, now, said Betty, I finally got my revenge – and threw the terminal to Roy, which showed that he only had a hundred thousand left.

Betty’s house is surrounded by her many grandchildren and helpers, but she is not looking for easy ways, so she stayed at home alone with the brutalized Roy to play with him a touching scene from the series “Yes, I’ll break your neck, you old chicken.”

But a few minutes later – apparently having enjoyed this scene – the second investor, thrown at a hundred thousand, and Vlad Rastakovskiy with his hand shattered by the grace of Roy, come out of the back room.

The investor took the last money from Roy, Vlad mutilated Roy like a turtle god, so that he got a stroke, turned into a vegetable and now sits in a nursing home in his own urine.

And we are shown a happy Betty, located in a luxurious house, surrounded by numerous children and grandchildren, to whose inheritance an additional £3.7 million was added, plus revenge took place, after which the camera flies into the blue distance, amen.

The Good Liar movie meaning


Bill Condon


Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Russell Tovey, Jim Carter, Mark Lewis Jones, Laurie Davidson, Phil Dunster, Lucian Msamati, Johannes Heikjur Johannesson, Tunji Kasim

Budget : $10 million,

Global gross: $33 million

Germany, 2019, 109 min.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top