THE GOOD LIAR—Trailer Breakdown

An excerpt from the official poster for The Good Liar (2019) that features a split white/black background with Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren) on the white side (left) and Roy Courtney (Ian McKellen) on the black side (right) with the tagline "READ BETWEEN THE LIES" in black on white down the left hand side

On November 15, legendary actors Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen will share the silver screen together for the first time in the upcoming drama from New Line Cinema—The Good Liar. A career con man, Roy Courtney (Ian McKellen), sets his sights on a new target, recent widower Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren), but what should have been a simple swindle takes on the ultimate stakes as the con man begins to grow closer to his mark.  

Warner Bros. Pictures recently released the latest trailer for The Good Liar, revealing a number of interesting plot points and potential twists. 

The Good Liar’s two stars need no introduction. Helen Mirren is an Academy Award® winner (The Queen) and two-time Academy Award®-nominee Ian McKellen has a couple iconic movie roles under his belt (The Lord of the Rings’s Gandalf and X-Men’s Magnetto). However, you may have noticed another iconic actor pop up in the recent trailer—Jim Carter from Downton Abbey fame. Carter plays Vincent in The Good Liar, a close confident to McKellen’s Roy, who tells Vincent his plan to rob Betty. From the tone and dialogue included in this latest trailer, we can expect these characters to weave a web of lies that is sure to keep us guessing and provide a few unexpected twists and turns.

We learn how Roy meets his next target, Betty, from the opening shots of the latest trailer, which sees Betty typing away at her laptop. She appears to be creating an online dating page for herself, a recent widower. Next, we see the two on what looks like a first date as they shake hands across a table of a fancy restaurant. This is Roy’s way in—masquerading as a single man looking for love while secretly plotting a mutli-million-dollar con. However, it’s not all about the money for Roy, who admits to enjoying the adrenaline rush shortly before we see him trip a man in front of a moving train in the London Underground—which tells us he’s willing to go to great lengths to pull off his cons.

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Roy Courtney (Ian McKellen) and Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren) in The Good Liar (2019)

Roy and Betty’s relationship appears to be getting serious when Roy joins her and Steven, presumably her son, for a home-cooked meal. Steven points out that Roy has quite a past, to which Roy replies “enough to last several lifetimes.” This dinner scene cuts to another example of Roy’s more ruthless nature as we see him corner a cook and order a henchman to take a mallet to the cook’s hand in a violent act of intimidation. We are beginning to see there is more than meets the eye to the seemingly cordial, harmless Roy, as the trailer hints at a dark past and ruthless nature that lies beneath the surface. 

About midway through the trailer, we find that Betty is anything but a helpless little lamb ripe for the taking. Her past appears to be just as mysterious, her nature just as dark, as the wolf at her doorstep. First, we see her rip up a carpet to reveal wooden floor boards that undoubtedly hide a secret she wishes no one to find. Her secret could be very dark indeed, as evident by the juxtaposition of her line, “it’s very peculiar—doing things you’d never imagine,” with the shot of Betty and Roy standing in front of an enlarged photo of a book burning in what appears to be some sort of exhibit. The black-and-white photo could have a connection to a historical event of which Betty was apart. She goes on to speak of “secrets between you, God, the devil, and the dead.” Quick shots of three young girls that appear to take place years ago, perhaps during the 1930s or 1940s, hint at flashbacks that will reveal these characters’ backstories. 

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Ian McKellen (Roy Courtney) and Helen Mirren (Betty McLeish) on location while filming The Good Liar (2019)

Finally, the characters who both appear to have some skeletons in their closet, figuratively and perhaps literally, grow closer to one another and seemingly join forces. “The perfect mark becomes the perfect match,” says a set of title cards from the trailer. Roy may have gotten more than he bargained for when choosing Betty as his next target, a woman who could maybe teach even a seasoned con man like himself a thing or two about lying. 

Witness two acting legends share the silver screen for the very first time when The Good Liar comes to Regal November 15.