A big hit at least year’s BFI Flare Festival, Lie With Me is a story of confronting the past to heal the present. Guillaume de Tonquédec plays Stéphane, a successful author who returns to his hometown for the first time in 35 years to be the guest of honour at a corporate event. At a book signing, he meets Lucas (Victor Belmondo), the son of a man he fell in love with as a teenager.
The pair bond over the missing figure in their lives, as Stéphane delves into painful memories to show Lucas who his father really was. There is something familiar to this drama – a teen gay romance in a small town, that grows and implodes during one beautifully photographed summer. Given that this is based on an autobiographical novel by Phillipe Besson, perhaps it is a sign of the many real-life heartbreaks that happen when who you love puts you in danger.
The story is gracefully told, balancing the past and present narratives well. The heat and passion of the past scenes mean the present-day moments can feel staid by comparison, but the emotion is always close to the surface. Guillaume de Tonquédec, a handsome leading man hidden behind bookish glasses and timid demeanour, gives a fine performance as someone who has spent their entire lives controlling their actions.
He works well with Belmondo, the grandson of the legendary Jean-Paul, who bears more than a passing resemblance to the Breathless actor. Jérémy Gillet and Julien De Saint Jean sizzle with chemistry as the young lovers, with their fight between passion and shame providing Lie With Me’s finer moments.