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Little White Lies

October 22, 2013

Little White Lies (2010)
Director: Guillaume Canet
Actors: François Cluzet, Benoît Magimel, Marion Cotillard

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Synopsis: A longstanding group of Paris friends are shaken to the core when one of their brethren, Ludo (Jean Dujardin), is severely injured in a scooter accident. They decide to press ahead with their regular summer holiday at the seaside home of Max (François Cluzet), but suppressed issues and grudges threaten the ambience of the vacation….

Review: If Richard Curtis made French films, they’d probably look a lot like this facetious comedy-drama. Director Guillaume Canet’s greatest mistake is in having the gall to craft a moral about the seeming pettiness and emotional blindness of this bunch of vacationing bourgeois Parisiens, even having the one local, non-materialist character (Jean-Louis) call them out for this, yet it’s a film that is in love with, and was made for, the very same cohort of people.

If the film had ended on Jean-Louis’ rebuke then that would have made sense, but instead we get the ultra-convenient plot device (spoiler alert) that is Ludo (the friend lying injured in the Paris hospital) suddenly dying. This lends each character (and in a sense, each actor), the chance to have their own histrionic moment of cathartic grieving at his funeral – the indulgence and leniency of such a final scene totally betraying Canet’s aspirations to offer a more distanced critique of his characters. (October 2013)

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