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  Unrated Closed Captioning

Michael Cuesta

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About the Movie

A teenaged boy in desperate need of a father figure finds one in a place no one should ever have to look in this controversial drama. Howie (Paul Franklin Dano) is a 15-year-old who has been emotionally at sea ever since the death of his mother in an auto accident several years before. Howie's father Marty (Bruce Altman) is also having trouble dealing with the loss, and distracts himself with empty sex while avoiding authorities attempting to prosecute him for using unsafe materials in his building contracting business. Howie falls in with a group of homeless delinquents his own age, becoming especially close to streetwise Gary (Billy Kay). In time, Howie begins to wonder if his feelings for Gary go past ordinary friendship, but the issue of his sexuality is forced into a very different light after Gary persuades Howie to join him in robbing the home of middle-aged former Marine Big John Harrigan (Brian Cox). It doesn't take long for Big John to track down the culprits after Howie and Gary steal several guns from his house, but Howie learns that Big John and Gary have met before -- Gary sometimes works as a male prostitute, and Big John, whose tastes run to boys in their early teens, is a regular customer. When Gary runs away to California, Big John proposes that Howie work off their debt by having sex with him; while Howie is hardly comfortable with this arrangement, he has nowhere else to go after his father ends up in jail, and he finds an unexpected degree of emotional support in his relationship with the curiously compassionate pedophile, who comes to understand just how badly Howie needs help.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 82
  • Fresh: 68
  • Rotten: 14
  • Average Rating: 7.0/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: You know you're in the hands of a born filmmaker when he floods a scene with danger and excitement and, at the same time, tempers it with something more delicate. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, Sep 7, 2011

Fresh: A boldly imaginative yet subtle exploration of male sexuality. – Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times, Feb 24, 2007

Fresh: A provocative, upsetting film. – Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle, Jun 18, 2002

Rotten: Recoiling from L.I.E. is a very human, and frankly a very responsible, reaction. – Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


You've got the lanes going east, the lanes going west and the lanes going straight to hell.
This is one movie that is hard to sum up you just have to see it. "L.I.E" tells the story of a young man trying to find himself while struggling to fit in, and cope with the loss of his mother this is not your typical coming of age movie.

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View in iTunes
  • $7.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2001

Customer Ratings