Four young Sudanese survive a brutal war, a monstrous trek to a refugee camp, and 13 years there before being brought to Kansas City for resettlement. To this point, the movie is a moderately interesting, if highly sanitized, tale of survival.

Then Reese Witherspoon appears in a supporting role as an employment counselor, and the movie sags. Reese does nothing wrong, and her misleading prominence on the poster will likely boost the film’s attendance, but her character reframes the focus to a white American point of view, when the African bookends of this worthy, good-hearted tale are far more compelling. Japanese title: Good Lie: Ichiban Yasashī Uso. (110 min)