Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little White Lies: Movie Review

 

You will laugh and cry as you are sure to find at least one character to care about.

“Little White Lies” is a multi-relationship drama; one about love, loss and life. It has witty situations, witty lines, and a near-fatal accident. Oh yes, this is an attempt at the hard-to-write comedy-tragedy genre. Thankfully, it doesn’t really fail, but instead of being overly comedic or tragic, it plays out mostly dramatically.2010

Directed by: Guillaume Canet

Screenplay by: Guillaume Canet

Starring: Marion Cotillard, François Cluzet and Benoît Magimel

There are likely cultural differences to impact how the different audiences relate to this film. It opens with Ludo at a club, partying it up, kissing girls, doing drugs and then speeding through red lights just to get hit by a truck. Based on the other characters’ actions and reactions, and other (French) descriptions I have read, Ludo is described as a guy who loves his friends and loves life, living every moment to the fullest. Whereas I would describe him as a guy with a death wish. Regardless, he is now in intensive care, but his friends still want to go on vacation.

Making these characters likable, navigating the comedy-tragedy structure, and all the while keeping us entertained, writer and director Guillaume Canet has set himself up with an almost impossible film to write well. But as a viewer, you just have to find one character you can relate to or empathize with. Everybody is friends so the others will just naturally fall into place.

For me, this film succeeded the most in making me feel as though I was part of the group. I laughed when they laughed, I cried when they cried, and I too just wanted to forget about life and hang out in the water. Because of that inclusion, I never felt too bored during the excessive two and a half hour run-time. But no relationship drama should ever be that long.

I’m going out on a limb and saying that Guillaume Canet is a young, French Woody Allen, or at least he has the potential to become a hopefully-still-young, French Woody Allen. “Little White Lies” is a dialogue-driven, beautifully shot exposé about modern relationships with fully developed characters. He hasn’t yet mastered the fine balance between comedy and tragedy, or how to get to the point quickly, and I want him to cast himself, but hopefully I haven’t placed unfair expectations onto him.

Each character is having their own personal crisis usually involving the fact that a former lover doesn’t like them anymore. That misery coupled with Ludo’s tragedy can lead to an awfully somber vacation, but I quite liked the fact that they had their fun during the day and then usually when the alcohol came out, so did the tears and anger. The lies eluded to in the title are more just obvious truths that are barely even concealed, but that doesn’t make for nearly as catchy a title. Because these characters are just so well developed, there are always more truths to discover about them.

“Little White Lies” is for drama lovers. You will laugh and you will cry and if you are sure to find a character to connect to, then this film is worth discovering. Apparently France has long since known about the talent that is Canet, now might be the time for the rest of the world to discover him too.