Movie Review: The Invention of Lying

the invention of lying
Credit: Netflix

The Invention of Lying is a great movie, and I might say a surprising one. It is written and produced by Ricky Gervais (he stars too – as Mark Bellison). I was not expecting it to be bad, as Gervais has a big role in the movie but the extent in which he mocked religion surprised me. It is about a man who lives in a world where everyone says the truth. When he got fired and couldn’t pay his rent, he discovered his ability to lie and was able to pay his rent. Around the same time, his mother was dying so when she was taking her last breaths, he told her that there is a good place to live eternally to not make her sad. The nurses and doctors who were near were so impressed that they told everyone, and bingo! Religion was created. 

I loved this movie because it is thought provoking. Usually religious leaders or prophets are people who are seen as untouchable, whose actions should be never questioned. This movie makes us question whether or not religions are man-made to fill the void of what happens after we die. It was also thought-provoking in the sense that it keeps people alive. Frank was saying he was going to kill himself because he was alone and he was unhappy. When he learned about the “man in the sky” and that he will get a mansion in afterlife if he is a good person, he decided not to keep himself. I think this is called delayed gratification. We delay happiness, comfort and other good things in the hopes that we will get an abundance of them later. Maybe if religion didn’t exist, there would be a lot more suicides because people would know that if they’re not happy now, there would be nowhere else to be happy. They may find it unnecessary to live. So I guess religion keep the machine of capitalism running by giving people some hope in their lives and for afterlife. 

I loved this movie because it was funny. When Mark made his announcement to explain what the rules about “man in the sky” were, he wrote something on a paper and sticked them to pizza boxes. This reminded me of the ancient tablets Egyptians and Sumerians wrote, also the religious books that are widely believed in today. Gervais mocked the religions in a way that they’re as meaningless as papers glued to paper pizza boxes. Also Mark’s appearance when he was depressed was similar to Jesus’ appearance that is widely seen around the world today: white garments with long hair and a sad face with thorny crown. The only thing missing in that scene was the thorny crown.

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