Good Luck to You, Leo Grande star Daryl McCormack shines in this handsomely executed mystery thriller from British director Alice Troughton, best known for her work on the legendary TV series Doctor Who. Written by Alex MacKeith, The Lesson also features exquisite performances from acclaimed French actor Julie Delpy and Oscar-nominated Richard E Grant. Although purely fictional, MacKeith is said to have based the story on real life events that arose after he was hired as a tutor by a writer he admired.

Aspiring young writer Liam (McCormack), accepts a tutoring position at the family home of his writing idol, the acclaimed author J.M. Sinclair (Grant). Liam is immediately seduced by his host’s seemingly perfect existence.  But soon, the young man finds himself involved in his new employers’ complicated family life and the secrets they keep. Sinclair, his wife Hélène (Delpy), and their son Bertie (up and coming Scottish actor Stephen McMillan) all guard a dark past, one that is likely to derail Liam’s own career trajectory. 

“Good writers borrow, great writers steal” the monstrous Sinclair tells anyone who can stand to be in his presence long enough to listen. It is around this idea that Troughton and MacKeith have based the bulk of their, albeit, easily guessable twist. As Liam is thrown into a world of cruelty, cultural snobbery and fraught family dynamics, the young man soon discovers why one should never aspire to meet their idols. 

While severely lacking in real intrigue, The Lesson still felt like a real breath of fresh air thanks to its unpretentiously accessible narrative and slow burn qualities. MacKeith and Troughton have clearly been influenced by more modern thrillers – Tar comes to mind on more than one occasion – but it’s also refreshing the see them having a lot of fun with their characters. The Lesson may not be perfect, but it remains one of the most watchable films of the year so far. I had a whale of a time with it.

The Lesson
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Linda Marric
Linda Marric is a senior film critic and the newly appointed Reviews Editor for HeyUGuys. She has written extensively about film and TV over the last decade. After graduating with a degree in Film Studies from King's College London, she has worked in post-production on a number of film projects and other film related roles. She has a huge passion for intelligent Scifi movies and is never put off by the prospect of a romantic comedy. Favourite movie: Brazil.
the-lesson-reviewWith a host of fine performances and an engaging narrative, The Lesson is a real breath of fresh air, and one of the most watchable films of the year so far.