Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Save up to 70%
Empire
Film Studies 101
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
François Cluzet
Marion Cotillard
Benoit Magimel.
Directors
Guillaume Canet.
Screenwriters
Guillaume Canet.
Running Time
154 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
4 Star Empire Rating
Anti-Social
1 Star Empire Rating
Argerich
3 Star Empire Rating
We Are Monster
3 Star Empire Rating
Unfriended
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
Sweet Smell of Success
5 Star Empire Rating

Little White Lies
A Gallic Peter’s Friends: Pierre’s Amis?


submit to reddit


Plot
A group of Parisian friends head out to a summer house for their annual holiday, leaving one of their number, Ludo (Jean Dujardin), in hospital after an accident. Secrets and relationship troubles put a strain on their friendships and threaten their holiday.


Review
Little White Lies
Guillaume Canet’s accessible thriller Tell No One has inspired an American remake, and you can imagine this French follow-up getting the same treatment. A witty relationships drama, it stars Canet’s partner Marion Cotillard as a Parisian in a tight-knit group of friends — mostly couples, mostly thirtysomething, some with kids, some without. Every year, they head out of the city for the beach house owned by Max (François Cluzet) for sun, sea and considerable amounts of wine. But this year, they have a dilemma: one of the group, Ludo (Jean Dujardin), has been hurt in a motorbike accident. Should they leave him in the hands of the hospital and head off regardless?

The decision is, of course, yes, and a comedic vacation drama ensues. Characters are well-developed and running jokes deliver. First up, married Vincent (Benoît Magimel) decides that he’s in love with his friend Max: a straight, uptight control freak who’s both horrified and confused by the declaration. Instead of tackling this head-on, Max lets it fester, and his already substantial anger-management problem threatens to explode amid the bemusement of his holidaying friends. It’s an amusing and occasionally sensitive portrait of two male friends struggling with complicated, unexpected emotions.

The biggest laughs come from the recently jilted Antoine (Laurent Lafitte), who’s obsessing about text messages from his ex and boring each member of the group in turn with his attempts at analysis. Cotillard’s Marie, meanwhile, is a single woman who seems to find little comfort in handsome lovers and slightly more in smoking weed. While their actions are exaggerated for comic effect, these aren’t stereotypes: they’re probably a lot like people you know.

While sharp character observations keep the black comedy going strong, this is slightly less successful on the dramatic front. It’s fitfully poignant, but the closing idea is that all of these self-obsessed friends have been telling each other lies for years — lies that all spill out under pressure. It’s an over-simplification of what is, essentially, a portrait of a group of mates on holiday. Unfortunately, trying to shoehorn it into a theme doesn’t really work.

It’s also hard to relate to their apparent neglect of their hospitalised friend, who only comes into their thoughts occasionally. Canet finally tackles this theme when many will be shifting in their seats: at 154 minutes, this is far from the breezy little comedy it first appears. Still, as ensemble relationships dramas go, this one’s well worth taking the rough with the smooth.


Verdict
It’s overlong, but with its gorgeous cast, irreverent humour and beautifully drawn characters, this smart comedy-drama is the kind of movie Couples Retreat and Grown Ups should have been. Please, nobody let Adam Sandler anywhere near a remake.


Reviewed by Anna Smith

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The 15 Most Controversial Alternate Endings
How some of your favourite films could have finished...

80 Of The Best Movie Star Adverts
From Sly Stallone selling bread to Hugh Jackman dancing for Ice Tea

Showrunner Matthew Weiner Reveals 7 Mad Men Secrets
The truth about The Beatles and that lawnmower

New Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Breakdown
Everything you need to know about the second teaser

Podcast #157: Alan Rickman
From A Little Chaos to Die Hard and back again

From Hell! 22 Stalker Psychodramas
From fatal attractions to single white females

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon On The Town That Dreaded Sundown
The American Horror Story director on his cult slasher remake

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Subscribe now and save up to 70%

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe now and save up to 70%
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)