Jelani Pitcher, Chris Rothbauer, Arielle Siler, Shawn Mathis Gooden
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Movie Review: 2 Truths & A Lie
A slightly dark comedy written and directed by Brandon Haynes, 2 Truths & A Lie centers around three distinct individuals who have gathered to meet inside the office of Melissa (Shawn Mathis Gooden) to address their inability to lie.
Jonathan (Jelani Pitcher) is a social media influencer. Courtney (Arielle Siler) is a lawyer. Finally, Frank (Chris Rothbauer) is a professional poker.
They all three need, you know, to be able to actually lie. The inability to do so is hindering their professional growth.
And off we go into 16 minutes of increasingly off-kilter comedy as Melissa's initial plan to challenge the trio to write down 2 Truths & A Lie downward spirals hilariously and she becomes increasingly determined to help these people achieve their goals whatever it takes.
Haynes has assembled a remarkably strong ensemble cast here with Gooden largely at the forefront as a deliriously absurd therapist of sorts whose methods are decidedly unique. Gooden is a blast to watch here as she rises to the challenge of the increasingly weird story that still manages to keep us connected. It's a tremendous performance from beginning to end and it's not surprising to learn that Gooden has an extensive history in both stand-up comedy and improv.
The same is true for the rest of the ensemble with each having moments to shine. We get a sense of each character despite the challenge of working within a 16-minute short film. Alexander Fischetti's lensing is strong throughout, especially for a low-budget short, and Ethan Startzman's sound design is equally impressive.
Brandon Haynes is an up-and-coming Black filmmaker dedicated to representing diverse perspectives in both serious and lighter ways. 2 Truths & A Lie leans toward the lighter, though there's no denying the film has some serious themes about remaining true to one's authentic self.
With insight and humor, 2 Truths & A Lie is an engaging and entertaining comedy short and it'll be exciting to watch for Haynes's future cinematic efforts.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic