Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Angela Martin, Ariana Leask, Kelly-Marie Murtha, Miroki Tong
Emily Schooley
26 Mins.

 "Life and the Art of Lying" an Emotionally Honest Indie Short 
Add to favorites

Charlie is a liar. 

A free spirit who struggles to connect honestly with the love of her life, Charlie (Angela Martin) is forced to confront her compulsive dishonesty when the cancer that she's long hidden from the people and world around her returns and rather than surrender her healing journey to the white coats that surround her she opts to explore more alternative solutions and to handle her own treatment her own way whatever the cost. 

Winner of Best LGBT Short at the Toronto Short Film Festival, Life and The Art of Lying is an emotionally honest short film grounded within the relationship of Charlie with Mara (Ariana Leask), a woman who previously lived life as a straight woman and who now deals with both lies and the possibility of losing the woman she loves. 

Written and directed by Emily Schooley, an emerging queer and neurodiverse filmmaker, Life and the Art of Lying radiates authenticity throughout its 26-minute running time and is gifted by strong performances from both Martin and Leask. Martin's performance here, in particular, is so beautifully layered that I had to laugh as I realized that a character so incapable of honesty was being portrayed by an actress with such complete and utter honesty. 

This is not to say in anyway at all that Ariana Leask is a slouch here. Leask is rather remarkable as she at times seems to roar through her own stages of grief, a grief founded upon a lack of knowing and an uncertainty what all this will mean. This becomes even more complicated as the film winds down and Schooley adds a bit of a twist toward film's end. 

Kelly-Marie Murtha also shines as Dr. Simone, whose compassion feels both genuine yet familiar clinical speak. 

Music by Stephen Schooley is immersive and melts within the tapestry of the film. Kudos really must go to the entire team for crafting a film that feels so natural and honest from beginning to end. Life and The Art of Lying is a film that satisfies as a 26-minute short film, though it also feels like a story that could easily be expanded with characters who deserve more time. 

Schooley is an experienced indie actress/writer/director known for pushing boundaries and telling artistic truths and truths, indeed, come to life Life and The Art of Lying, a beautiful film that had me thinking about it long after the closing credits had rolled. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic