A Little White Lie stars Michael Shannon and Kate Hudson in a rather serious comedy about imposter syndrome and the world of literary festivals.
A Little White Lie begins with Michael Shannon as a man named Shriver. He’s the super in a rundown apartment building. He drinks too much.
Kate Hudson plays Simone, the organizer of a literary festival for her college. The festival is sinking slowly into the sunset. Simone has been scouring the internet for a famous one hit wonder of a writer named Shriver who disappeared 20 years ago. She’s sent letters to anyone she can find named Shriver.
When our Shriver, the super, gets a letter inviting him to appear at the literary festival he’s taken aback by it. He claims not to be a writer and has his friend write a response to the letter. But he accepts the invitation.
He packs his one good set of clothes and flies to the college. Michael Shannon is so good in this. He’s insecure, unsure, terrified, and faking it. He’s a drunk, uneducated building super pretending to be a famous writer. Except sometimes he’s not. Sometimes he’s magic with words and stories.
It’s confusing to him and confusing to the literary types at the conference. Where is that man who can spin a web with words coming from? Before he’s figured it out, Zach Braff shows up claiming to be the REAL Shriver. What?
Simone turns out to have written two novels herself. They have disappeared into obscurity. But Shriver the super reads them and thinks they are brilliant.
Thematically the story is about imposter syndrome. It’s full of characters who cannot believe in themselves and their talent. It’s a unique approach to the theme. I thought it was clever and refreshing. A new take on an old topic.
The supporting cast in this is wonderful. Don Johnson has a big role. He’s joined by Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Wendie Malick, Perry Mattfeld, M. Emmet Walsh, Aja Naomi King, Peyton List, and several others.
You can catch this one on Hulu.