Little White Lies (Les Petits Mouchoirs)
- Tom Dawson
- 18 March 2011
Overlong comedy-drama starring Marion Cotillard, Francois Cluzet and Benoit Magimel, and directed by Guillame Canet
Following the international success of his innocent-man-on-the-run thriller Tell No One, French actor/director Guillaume Canet returns with this sprawling ensemble drama, which concerns a group of friends in their 30s and 40s. One of them, Ludo, has been in a motorcycle accident and is lying in intensive care in a Parisian hospital. His friends decide that they should still go ahead with their annual summer vacation at the seaside house of successful restaurateur Max (François Cluzet). Anxieties, tensions and resentments quickly surface, despite the relaxing environment. Especially since the osteopath Vincent (Benoît Magimel) has confessed his intimate feelings for the highly stressed Max, when both men are married with children.
Clearly inspired by The Big Chill, Little White Lies feels overstretched in its two-and-half hour running time, with Canet too reliant at times on montages accompanied by the soundtrack of 1960s and 1970s American classics to drive the narrative. You do, however, believe that these characters are long-term friends, who’ve become used to not being entirely truthful to themselves and to one another. Alongside some enjoyable comic moments – often involving mishaps triggered by Max’s temper – the real strength of this film lies in the performances: among the standouts are those of Magimel, Marion Cotillard (playing the commitment-shy anthropologist Marie), and the real-life oyster fisherman Joel Dupuch as Ludo’s grounded father.
GFT, Glasgow from Friday 15–Thursday 28 April.