IMDb Rating: 7/10
1h 36min | Drama 10 Jul 2020 (Canada) | Movie
Metacritic: 81/100 Universal Acclaim (Critic Reviews)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100% Fresh (Critic Reviews)
Director: Yonah Lewis, Calvin Thomas
Writer: Yonah Lewis, Calvin Thomas
Stars: Kacey Rohl, Amber Anderson, Martin Donovan
IMDb summary: A popular undergrad faking cancer struggles to maintain her secret.
PLEASE NOTE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD IN THIS REVIEW
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There is an entire culture of people who actually consider doing what the principal character in this film does to get what they want. Just do a google search on “people faking cancer”, and you’ll see what I mean. And while we are not sure if this film was based on a true story or not, we managed to find one particular case of a woman from Georgia who faked that she had Ovarian Cancer and managed to scam people out of $25,000.00 US worth of gifts and money. She was eventually caught, but at the time of writing, the case was still pending, and that was back in January 2016.
The plot of this film focuses on an undergrad dance student named Katie Arneson, who is faking that she has melanoma so she can scam people out of their money. The more money she makes, the harder it is for her to break the abusive cycle she is caught up in. Things seem to be working out for a while, but then her web of lies slowly starts to unravel when she is forced to visit her father to ask for money. Unlike all the other good and far too trusting people in Katie’s world, Daddy knows Katie a lot better and figures out that she’s scamming everyone. And what does any respectable person do when they want the world to know something? They take to social media, of course, which is exactly what Katie’s father does.
This begins the downward spiral for Katie, who brushes off this off as a minor setback and continues to be deceitful even to the one person that truly cares about her. To say that this movie was hard to watch might be holding back just a little. That could be a testament to the acting talent, which is off the hook good! Kacey Rohl is great as the troubled woman Katie. You almost want to feel sorry for her, like so many of her victims do. And it’s such a believable and raw performance. We can certainly see Kacey going places for sure. The supporting cast is also equally as talented with Amber Anderson portraying Katie’s girlfriend, Jennifer with such vulnerability and conviction you can truly feel the pain Katie is causing her.
Writing and Directing team Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas should really take a bow on a job done well. Katie is like a human car wreck. And it really feels like that too, almost as if you’re a bystander that just can’t look away from the disaster playing out in front of you. A significant story with a critical message for everyone to take heed of.
Many questions come from watching a film this deeply moving and disturbing. The biggest question which I am sure will be on everyone’s minds is why? Why would you do this to yourself and to your loved ones? What could possibly motivate a person to lie to this extent and continue to lie even when the truth has been exposed? Human nature really is a mysterious thing, and the team behind this film has given us a glimpse into the uglier side of it.