When a society invents the idea of lying, can religion be far behind?
My wife, Vi, and I saw it yesterday and it is highly recommended!
What if there was a society exactly like ours but with absolutely no lying?
Of course, no society could develop, exist and survive without lies - even chimp societies have the equivalent of lying. However, once you get over the basic premise of a society where there is not even a word for "lie" (or "truth") the rest follows naturally.
The main character, played by British comic Ricky Gervais, is a classic loser. He works as a writer for Lecture Films. Since there is no lying there is no fictional dramatization. All films are rather dry recitations of historical facts. Gervais's character has been assigned the 13th century and all he has to work with historically is the Black Plague - not a very inviting subject for a factual movie.
He gets a pity date with Jennifer Garner's character and admits that he is about to get fired and his finances are so poor he is behind on his rent. She tells him frankly that she has superior looks and genes and he is way out of her league financially. She cannot marry him because their children would be stub-nosed pudgy losers.
HOW LYING GETS INVENTED
Gervais goes to the bank to withdraw the $800 rent money. The bank's computer system is down but the teller implicitly trusts him (no one has ever lied). She gives him the $800. A moment later the computer comes back up and reveals he has only $300, but she assumes it is a computer error. He goes along with he "error" and slowly realizes that he can say things that are not true that everyone will believe. For example, he tells his friend that he invented the bicycle, his hand is artificial, he is wearing a wig, and so on. His friend believes him! He goes to a casino and distracts the dealer and moves his bet after the roll. He puts his roulette winnings in a game of chance worth $1,000,000 and claims he won but the machine malfunctioned. They give him the money and an apology! He is rich and buys a mansion!
He is the only person in the world who knows how to lie and he can get anything he wants! But, can he get Jennifer Garner's character? Is he willing to lie to her and suggest that wealth can change genes? Sadly, no.
I don't want to give away the whole story, but there are a few events worth mentioning.
1) Since he can lie, he finds it easy to forge a document from the 13th century and use it to write a blockbuster Black Plague movie. He gets his job back with a promotion!
2) His mother is dying. To comfort her, he tells her that there is a "Man in the Sky" and that dead people go up into the clouds and are restored to full health and vigor and are reunited with relatives and friends who have passed on.
3) His "Man in the Sky" story is picked up by the news media without question. No one has ever lied so this must be the absolute truth! He becomes a media sensation. To satisfy their curiosity and interests, he writes ten commandments (like Moses) to guide society. They are written on the backs of two pizza pie boxes. An image of him holding the two boxes with outstretched arms becomes a cross-like icon worn by believers.
4) Despite his success and surprising charm for a loser, Jennifer Garner's character is still unwilling to marry him because of his inferior genes. Rejected and dejected, he grows long hair and a beard (like Jesus).
How does it all end? GO SEE THIS MOVIE!