Screen Gems

Russell Tovey and Ian McKellen in a battle of wits and a chilling mystery

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Twister: The Good Liar

Oscar-winner Bill Condon helms this mystery/thriller, which stars cinematic lion Sir Ian McKellen. In the film, McKellen plays Roy, an aging Con Juan who seducing older, single women to rob them of their money. His latest target: Betty McLeish (Dame Helen Mirren), a recently widowed professor with a fortune in the bank. Betty falls hard for Roy’s charms right away, though her grandson Steven (Russell Tovey), smells a plot.

More than that we’ll not reveal here, as one of the great charms of The Good Liar is its labyrinth of plot twists, reversals and reveals. Suffice it to say that there’s much more to Roy’s past than he would have Betty know, and that she has a secret or two of her own. McKellen and Mirren–two giants of acting–relish their roles, and play their scenes together with typical intensity. Tovey too gives a mature performance in his role as Steven, a man who wants his grandmother to be happy, as much as to be safe. Well paced, taut with suspense and threaded with some very dark humor, The Good Liar should remind viewers that a good movie doesn’t need sex, explosions or tons of special effects. Rather, it just needs some compelling characters and some irresistible actors.

Streams on HBO Max, Amazon, Hulu & VUDU.