One can’t call Guillaume Canet (“Tell No One”) a rising star because this French cinema talent has had a solid presence as an actor in English (“Last Night” with Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes) and international films (“The Players”). Perhaps we can refer to his rising status when it comes to his recent work as a writer-director, because I feel that this guy’s work has just begun and we will see more of him as a filmmaker.
LITTLE WHITE LIES, written and directed by Guillaume Canet is one entertaining; beautifully shot treat of a film with writing that’s both witty and reflective.
Plotwise: more than just following the summer getaway of a group of friends, played by Francois Cluzet, Canet’s real life love Marion Cotillard (“Inception”), Benoit Magimel, Gilles Lellouche and Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”). It explores the behavior and interactions of these individuals in a playful, humorous way at first, but packed with a variety of emotions, just like life itself.
Please don’t pass this film up just because it is in French and you don’t like the idea of reading subtitles. It will be your loss.
LWL uncovers the lengths people go to save face and to put on display a life that may not be entirely truthful. It questions real friendship, integrity and loyalty, and through Canet’s heartfelt, lively script it , speaks the necessary words, turns corners and flows like a river with rich characters whose growth becomes the journey the viewer participates in.
A scene stealer of an open both by an amped Jean Dujardin, and a slickly mapped “long take” camera sequence, should keep your butts in chairs. Then there are the colorful characters and what they see as priorities in life.
Canet says that there is a little bit of him in every character and that he drew from his own experiences.
“I wanted to make a cross-generational movie, one in which even the children’s characters are based on what I felt when I was five or ten years old, surrounded by grown-ups,” says the filmmaker about his story. “I approached writing these people with a lot of honesty and sincerity, which is why I think people seem to relate to them easily. You always have to put something of yourself into a story. What’s true and real for you can be true and real for somebody else.”
Though the movie was a good 15 minutes too long, the viewer should be glad to find out the filmmaker had more to share about his characters, therefore making the extended stay on the screen be worthy of something.
The choices in songs for the film were a tad odd but a good effort to connect with the American, English speaking audience who normally write off foreign language films, simply because they are not in English. As odd as they were, the songs featured in this film became even weirder towards the end, especially with “My Way.” If you must, just get Sinatra, Paul Anka or seriously leave that song alone.
In the end BNH is here to tell you about good films and not to bitch about them. LITTLE WHITE LIES is a damn good film and a time well spent.
Have some French wine from Trader Joe’s, or find a nice glass at a restaurant/bar near the movie theater, sit back and take in what Canet and his tastefully selected cast want to show you. The film’s soul-searching direction will deliver laughs, drama and lessons, picked up on a road we all know as life.
Little White Lies opens in LA & NY this weekend, August 24, 2012
CLICK HERE for the film’s trailer.