6.9/10
335
12 user 9 critic

White Lies (2013)

A medicine woman - a giver of life - is asked to hide a secret which may protect one life but which will destroy another.

Director:

Dana Rotberg

Writers:

Dana Rotberg (screenplay), Witi Ihimaera (novel) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Whirimako Black Whirimako Black ... Paraiti
Rachel House ... Maraea
Antonia Prebble ... Rebecca
Nancy Brunning Nancy Brunning ... Horiana
Te Waimarie Kessell Te Waimarie Kessell ... Aroha
Kohuorangi Ta Whara Kohuorangi Ta Whara ... Wirepa
Elizabeth Hawthorne ... Hospital Matron
Te Ahurei Rakuraku Te Ahurei Rakuraku ... Young Paraiti
Tahuri o te Rangi Trainor Tait Tahuri o te Rangi Trainor Tait ... Paraiti's Grandfather
Kyle Pryor ... Soldier
Rawiri Waiariki Rawiri Waiariki ... Horiana's Grandchild
Te Whenua Te Kurapa Te Whenua Te Kurapa ... Pirimahana
Tangiroa Tawhara Tangiroa Tawhara ... Woman With Bad Leg
Vanessa Paraki Vanessa Paraki ... Limping Girl
Phil Peleton ... Chemist
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Storyline

White Lies is a story about the nature of identity: those who deny it and those who strive to protect it. Paraiti (Whirimako Black) is a medicine woman. She is the healer and midwife of her rural, tribal people - she believes in life. But new laws are in force prohibiting unlicensed healers. On a rare trip to the city, she is approached by Maraea (Rachel House), the servant of a wealthy woman, Rebecca (Antonia Prebble), who seeks her knowledge and assistance in order to hide a secret which could destroy Rebecca's position in European settler society. If the secret is uncovered a life may be lost, but hiding it may also have fatal consequences. So Paraiti, Maraea and Rebecca become players in a head on clash of beliefs, deception and ultimate salvation. Written by South Pacific Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Redemption comes at a price. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

New Zealand

Language:

Maori | English

Release Date:

28 November 2013 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Medicine Woman See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand

Company Credits

Production Co:

South Pacific Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of New Zealand to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nicely filmed but that's about it.
30 June 2013 | by LuvNotWarSee all my reviews

This film is based on a book by Witi Ihimaera called Medicine Woman. For some reason the title was changed to White Lies. Perhaps that was an attempt to inflame racial passions and get people interested enough to go and see it. I don't know, but I find the choice of title to be in highly questionable taste.

But apart from that the best I can say for this film is it looks nice, as NZ films and television invariably does. It's not hard to make a nice looking film in NZ considering our scenery, but unfortunately it is used to hide a multitude of sins, such as a weak story and poor acting among others. The story in White Lies is interesting enough in its own way, but everything else lets it down and even the cinematography can't save it.

The dialog sounded false and artificial and very few of the actors seemed at all professional. So much so that it was difficult to concentrate on the story, such was the poor quality of almost all of the actors involved. I am all for encouraging NZ film and television but that doesn't mean we MUST only use inexperienced locals surely?

I'm sorry to hurt the feelings of anyone involved in this film. I'm sure you did your best and gave it your all, and I certainly wanted to love this film after enduring the dismal Top of the Lake, but I'm afraid I found White Lies to be just another in a long string of low quality Kiwi films. Please don't take it personally.

Once again full marks for the cinematography and scenery, but low marks for all the rest. Better luck next time everyone.


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