Skip to main contentSkip to footer

The Good Liar: the shock ending explained 

So what happens in the end? 

the good liar 1
Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
Share this:

The Good Liar might have been released back in 2019, but the series has been a hit with viewers since landing on Netflix earlier this month, and has quickly reached the top trending list on the popular streaming platform. The film stars Sir Ian McKellen as a conman determined to swindle a former professor, played by Dame Helen Mirren, out of her millions - but what happens in the end? Here’s the film’s big twist explained and warning, spoilers ahead! 

MORE: The Road Dance: check out an exclusive clip from new Scottish period drama

Throughout the movie, Roy Courtnay is shown to be a ruthless gangster, killing or maiming whoever dares to cross him, all the while determined to swindle Betty, a sweet and caring widow, out of her millions.

WATCH: Have you watched The Good Liar yet? 

As part of his scheme, he takes her on a trip to Berlin, where her grandson Stephen reveals that after some research, he worked out that Roy was actually Hans Taub, a German translator who stole Englishman Roy Courtnay’s identity following a botched operation. 

After Roy staunchly defends himself, Betty takes his side and falls out with her grandson, before agreeing to do as Roy suggested by putting their funds together in a joint account. After doing this, Roy claims to have received a phone call from his son and leaves Betty, intending to disappear with their millions. However, he soon realises that he doesn’t have the device needed to access the account, meaning that he has to return to Betty’s to collect it. 

ian helen

What did you make of the twist?

Upon his arrival, he is surprised to see that the house is empty, with Betty sitting alone in the living room with both devices, slowly siphoning all of their collective money out into another account. 

In the shock twist, it is revealed that Betty’s name is actually Lili, and she was well aware that Roy was really Hans all along. In 1930s Germany, he was employed as her English tutor, and attacked her after being rejected by her sister. His advances on her sister led her parents to fire him - and he reacted by reporting them to the Nazis, who had her father arrested and executed. 

MORE: 7 new movies coming to cinemas in May 2022: Dr Strange 2, Top Gun Maverick and more

MORE: The Essex Serpent differs from the book it's based on in one key way

Lili then explained that her mother died by suicide following her father’s death, before her sisters were also killed in an explosion, leaving her to fend for herself when the Russians arrived in Germany following the war. However, she had never forgotten his attack on her and confirmed that 'Roy' was the man she had been looking for following a DNA test - having found Hans' lock of hair in a locket that he had once given her. 

helen mirren

Helen plays Betty in the thriller

Having stolen all of his money and confronted him, Lili begins to leave, only for Roy to attack her. However, she defends herself before the arrival of two henchmen who Roy previously used for another scam before badly injuring them when they demanded more of a cut of the profits. The pair beat Roy, leading him to suffer a stroke. Earlier in the film, Roy claims to want Betty’s money to avoid relying on the NHS, instead lying on a beach with champagne in his old age. However, he finds himself in a hospital instead, where he didn’t want to end up. 

Meanwhile, Betty has returned to a vibrant, beautiful home quite unlike the bland bungalow she had pretended to live in while scamming Roy, is surrounded by a large family and is finally content. 

Like this story? Sign up to our What to Watch newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

More TV and Film

See more