Kacey Rohl's character sits alone on the table of a doctor's office. She is bald and her hands are nervously fidgeting.

In this stellar character-driven feature, Kacey Rohl plays the role of a young college student caught in a web of lies stemming from a fanciful cancer diagnosis. The flick is written and directed by Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas, a Canadian duo making waves across the indie scene. Helmed by a powerful cast and perfectly imperfect characters, White Lie is a film that will haunt you even after the screen fades to black.

White Lie follows Katie (Rohl), a dance major facing damaging consequences after she fabricates a melanoma diagnosis for emotional, social, and charitable gain.  While previously her diagnosis was believed by word alone, after her father (Martin Donovan) reveals Katie’s dark secret, she realizes she must step up her façade or lose everything she has worked for. In some of the most chilling moments of the film, viewers realize just how far Katie will go to keep up her lie as she starves herself to appear sickly and receives illegal drug treatments to induce the expected side effects of chemo. In the end, Katie’s lie is never revealed to the world—and yet that does not matter. Katie has still lost. Her lie has cost her her family, her girlfriend (having previously been Katie’s last tie to humanization), and most importantly it has cost her herself.

Amber Anderson's character sits alone, looking away in contemplation. She is wearing a pink sweater and her brown hair is flowing below her shoulders.
Amber Anderson’s Jennifer. Rock Salt Releasing.

The film’s cold plot could have forbidden viewers from forming a deeper connection, but it does not. This is in large part due to Katie’s relationship with Jennifer (Amber Anderson), her girlfriend of a much higher social standing. Though the relationship is toxic by nature, built on a lie spun out of control, the chemistry between Rohl and Anderson creates a beautifully realistic picture of two people who are just not meant to be together. Jennifer tries her best, paying for her partner’s supposed cancer treatments and bringing her to family dinners, but Katie’s deceitful nature is simply too much for the pair. This added romance lets viewers into the psyche of the protagonist, showing that perhaps she is not too far gone. It both humanizes Rohl’s character, making you hope that she can better herself for her lover, and shows an insight to the effect Katie’s actions have on the world around her.

Two hands are holding an Iphone. The screen shows a fundraising app with Katie's picture and the caption 'Help Katie Get to Seattle'.
Katie’s fundraiser. Rock Salt Releasing.

In addition, Kacey Rohl is simply superb as she flawlessly balances the line between a nuanced and emotional creature, trying to make ends neat in an awful situation of her own creation. Rohl’s portrayal is necessary as the film is delivered through a narrow scope, with her character being the only one with any definable trait to remember by. This slim view of the abominable actions attributed to the protagonist is frustrating at times, but in the end, helps to realize how truly isolating it is for one’s relationships to be completely built upon a lie.

White Lie is available for pre-order on 12/20/2020 and will release on various streaming platforms on 1/5/2021.

Aubrey Carr is a Public Health major with a passion for film. She is a lover of all things horror and holds a love-hate obsession with New French Extremity. She is also a co-creator for Scratch Cinema and enjoys writing about feminist & lesbian issues in film.