Directed by: Guillaume Canet
Written by:Guillaume Canet
Starring: Francois Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Benoit Magimel, Gilles Lellouche, Jean Dujardin, Laurent Lafitte
Released: June 16, 2011
Grade: B+

It’s become an annual tradition.  Each year, the same group of friends leave their busy lives in Paris and go on a holiday together.  One of them owns a nice beach house and it’s the perfect venue to drink, eat and be merry.  They sit on the back deck and tell stories until the wee hours.

Things are different this year however.  A member of the regular group, Ludo, was recently involved in a horrific motorcycle accident.  Badly disfigured and unable to speak, he’s now recuperating in the intensive care unit of a Parisian hospital.

The others debate whether they should go ahead with the holiday.  Is it right to be relaxing and celebrating while one of their best friends is suffering so badly?  After much debate, they agree to go on a shortened trip.  They figure there isn’t much they can do for Ludo at the moment and so they’ll go on a two week holiday and then be back to spend time with him before they all go their separate ways.

The title of this film should give you a fairly good idea what it’s all about.  These people have secrets they do not wish to share and problems they do not wish to confront.  Ah, but now that they’re all spending two weeks couped up in the same house, things will slowly come out into the open.

It’s too long at 154 minutes but Little White Lies is a thought-provoking French drama.  As I left the theatre and starting walking to my car, many thoughts were rattling around in my mind.  The movie has a lot to say about people in the 21st century and our self-centred behaviour.  How much do we really care about our friends and family?  Or are we more interested in our own appearance, possessions and social status?

The film features a string of quality performances, headlined by Francois Cluzet (Tell No One, French Kiss) and Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, Inception).  Cluzet plays a wealthy restaurant owner who can’t seem to get past his controlling tendencies.  He often uses his wealth and power to asset authority over others.  Cotillard plays a vulnerable young woman who exudes charm but has a deep-seeded fear of commitment.  When her latest boyfriend calls to say that he’s coming down to visit, she’s running scared.

Some of the film’s themes are a touch overdone but I’d strongly recommend this for lovers of great French cinema.