A Little White Lie

Michael Maren’s latest, “A Little White Lie,” which stars Michael Shannon, Kate Hudson, Don Johnson, and Zach Braff opens in select theaters nationwide on March 3.

Michael will be appearing at three of the showings.

The Moviehouse, Millerton, NY
March 4 @ 6:30 pm

Bantam Cinema
March 5 1:30pm

Cinema Village, NYC
March 3 @ 6:15


Tickets will also be available


The San Francisco Chronicle
Sometimes the best thing about a movie is the world of it. It can be a place you visit for a couple of hours and remember fondly, even if it isn’t spectacular but merely pleasing.
Read more

Chicago Sun Times
MARCH 1, 2023: 3/4 star review, “Author or poser? Michael Shannon keeps us guessing in ‘A Little White Lie’” by Richard Roeper

When we talk about small, finely crafted, dialogue-driven gems with interesting characters and little or no CGI, it’s easy to say, “They don’t make ’em like that anymore,” but the good news is that’s not really accurate. They DO make ’em like rolex submariner fake that today, as evidenced by such recent releases as the Tom Hanks hit “A Man Called Otto” and the similarly themed “Living” (with an Oscar-nominated turn by Bill Nighy) and the Anna Kendrick drama “Alice, Darling” and now writer/director Michael Maren’s whimsical and sharply written and beautifully performed “A Little White Lie,” which among other things serves as a reminder Michael Shannon is incapable of delivering a performance that’s less than mesmerizing.

Based on the novel “Shriver” by Chris Belden, “A Little White Lie” is set primarily in and around the fictional Acheron University, a small and not terribly prestigious liberal arts school in California, where the struggling annual literary festival gets a much-needed boost with the news that the renowned and reclusive, Salinger-esque author Shriver, who hasn’t been seen in some 20 years, has accepted an invitation to be honored at the fest. This comes as great news and a welcome relief to the staff, which includes Kate Hudson’s Simone and Don Johnson’s Wasserman, and we know Wasserman is quirky because Ovocné Nápln? the guy gets around campus on a horse, an honest-to-goodness horse.

Cut to a dilapidated apartment building where a crusty-looking, world-weary man named Shriver (Shannon) toils in nondescript anonymity as a handyman. Shriver receives that invitation from Simone to attend the festival — but here’s the question: Is he the real Shriver, or just a guy who happens to have the same name and jumps at the chance for a free plane ticket, a decent hotel room and maybe the chance to scoop up a few bucks? Is Shriver a low-level con man of opportunity, or a once-great author suffering from a serious case of imposter syndrome?

What a great role for Shannon, who gives us a Shriver who at times seems like a clueless fool, but occasionally offers insights and delivers monologues worthy of a legendary scribe. There’s an almost “Being There”/Chauncey Gardiner quality to this man, who is met with reverence by some at the university, while others are instantly suspicious of his odd-duck, hard-drinking character. And what a supporting cast of colorful characters who are introduced to the mix, including Da’Vine Joy Randolph as a Shriver super-fan; Wendie Malick as a local benefactor and literary groupie; M. Emmet Walsh as an old-timey professor; Aja Naomi King as an activist-author whose latest work is titled, “Oh! The Menstrual Show”; Peyton List as a cheerleader, literally a cheerleader, and Zach Braff as a character whose late appearance in the film turns everything upside-down.

Writer-director Maren, who had a lengthy and brilliant career as a foreign correspondent before turning to filmmaking, possesses a keen eye and ear for the idiosyncrasies of the insulated world of a mid-level college, where the young people are just hoping for a way out to something better, and those who are stuck there feel as if they’re, well, stuck there. The ensemble is uniformly excellent, led by the great Michael Shannon, who even gets to play some scenes against himself, as Shriver’s alter ego/conscience. We’re lucky they sometimes still make ’em like they used to.