Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Les Petits Mouchoirs
France, 2010. Les Productions du Trésor, EuropaCorp, Caneo Films, M6 Films, Canal+, CinéCinéma, M6, W9, Cofinova 6, La Compagnie Cinématographique Européenne, Panache Productions. Screenplay by Guillaume Canet. Cinematography by Christophe Offenstein. Produced by Alain Attal. Production Design by Philippe Chiffre. Costume Design by Carine Sarfati. Film Editing by Herve de Luze.
A group of friends take in the sun for a few weeks at the vacation home of Max (François Cluzet), a hotelier whose highly strung temper and constantly stressed out attitude brings him no end of exasperation from the rest of the group. Max also has to deal with the fact that Vincent (Benoît Magimel) has just announced having feelings for him, Vincent’s wife Isa is getting desperate to be made love to, Marie (Marion Cotillard) keeps sleeping around in the hopes of making herself not care about anyone, Antoine (Laurent Lafitte) is obsessed with an old girlfriend he is constantly text messaging, and Eric (Gilles Lellouche) is losing his current girlfriend thanks to his wandering appetite. The vacation would be a perfect blend of silly activities and late nights of wine except for one overhanging problem: one of the most beloved of their group (Jean Dujardin) is in hospital in critical condition after having been nearly killed in a road accident and, shockingly, they (and you as the audience) eventually forget to feel guilty about that. Guillaume Canet follows his tight, exciting thriller Tell No One with a complete change of pace, a drawn-out character examination that is thought-provoking and entertaining. The characters are all highly amiable and the movie is a very easy watch for an almost two and a half hour running time, striking some passionate, joyful chords despite the fact that at its centre is a very depressing message: give a person enough time and opportunity to be selfish and they can forget anyone important. At least I think that might be the message, it’s actually hard to tell exactly where Canet is going with all the strands of characters and plots he has, but the fact that I am not able to package the film succinctly in my post-op should not convince you that it isn’t highly enjoyable. The performances are all outstanding, especially a gorgeously enigmatic Cotillard, whose bright expressive eyes were pools of vulnerability when she played Piaf but here are made of iron, and a hilariously vulnerable Magimel as a man trying to figure out where to find the affection he so desires.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2010