Little White Lies Guillaume Canet

Little White Lies Guillaume Canet
Opening up with the shocking near-death motorcycle accident of drunk-driving cokehead Ludo (Jean Dujardin), Little White Lies acknowledges its potential for unexpected drama while seemingly setting the premise for a Big Chill-esque character piece full of revelations and personal explorations. And in part, it lives up to this. But as the title suggests, Little White Lies is more a story of avoidance, wherein a group of friends come up with a ludicrous and roundabout way to go on a posh, seaside, cottage vacation despite their friend lying in a hospital at death's door. Instead of talking about their friend or routinely enquiring about his health, they focus on their issues with maximum solipsism. Max (Francois Cluzet) spends his vacation obsessing over squirrels in the wall as a means of avoiding his friend, Vincent (Benoit Magimel), who just admitted having years of pent up romantic feelings for him. Vincent's wife, Isabelle (Pascale Arbillot), aware of something missing in her marriage, overcompensates for attention, much like the promiscuous, self-loathing Marie (Marion Cotillard), who ignores the advances of her similarly slutty friend, Eric (Gilles Lalouche). Director Guillaume Canet's knack for finding the truth in a given moment by letting his actors play off each other makes for an abundance of genuinely funny scenes of character interaction. Max's stubbornness routinely places him in embarrassing situations, either mowing the lawn while everyone tries to sleep or winding up pant-less, trapped in the middle of a muddy sandbar on his boat. We get such a sense of involvement in these characters and their believable dynamic that it's actually easy to be sucked into the theme of avoidance, similarly forgetting that someone was left behind, seriously injured. And if the realization that these people are all rather grotesque makes it difficult to appreciate the observations about human dynamics and self-involvement, surely the top-notch acting and engaging pacing make up for it. A gag reel and "Making of" are included with the DVD, but, as expected, it's all in French. (Maple)