Parents' Guide to

(Dis) Honesty: The Truth About Lies

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Fascinating docu on lying; some profanity, sex references.

Movie NR 2015 90 minutes
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Though some might not be shocked by studies proving people tend to lie much more if it helps them and they can get away with it, this documentary is still an interesting look at why and how we lie. It also addresses how we as a species -- even the most honest among us -- seem hardwired to lie. While centered on the work and findings of Duke University researcher Dan Arely, the documentary also shows interviews with people who rationalized their lying and cheating, until the lying and cheating took on an unstoppable life of its own and they were caught and had to suffer the consequences.

Some of the testimonials concerning lying are quite shocking -- most notably the advertising executive who started a thoroughly reprehensible marketing campaign for the movie adaptation of the best-selling book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. The axiom "all publicity is good publicity" takes on a disturbing meaning when the executive makes anonymous calls and blog posts pretending to protest the "rape culture" many believe the book and the book's author celebrates, in the hopes that it will get more people to see the movie. Though this documentary could have shown a few more examples and suggestions of how we might curb our seemingly inborn tendencies to lie, it does offer the beginnings of some potential solutions.

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