Yesterday I went to see Les Petits Mouchoirs (Little White Lies). David and I had planned to see it the Sunday before but I wasn’t in the right mood for the film I expected it to be so we postponed. Last night was the perfect night.
When we finally emerged from the cinema at gone 11 (it was a long film, more on that later) it was still a balmy 12 °C. I felt like I was on holiday, helped in no small part by the glorious setting of the film at a beautiful beach house in France. The glass of white wine I had during the film didn’t do any harm to the summery feeling either.
So, first things first, I am completely in love with Benoît Magimel. (As an aside, I just text David to tell him as much and all I got back was “Haha oh no!” I don’t think he’s taking me seriously).
Here is Benoît Magimel.
I’m not sure this does him justice.
To truly appreciate my new found love watch Les Petits Mouchoirs. Even if you aren’t overly bothered about seeing this lovely man in action (so to speak, no actual “action” that I recall), still go and see Les Petits Mouchoirs. Here is why: part of my newly formed obsession with Mr Magimel up there is because he is AMAZING in the film. In fact, all the cast are fantastic, with François Cluzet deserving a particular mention; he is funny and heartfelt and genuine. So, that’s a good start. The performances are brilliant.
This film is funny. It might have been the wine, it might have been that “summery” feeling I mentioned earlier, but moments had me laughing (alright, snorting) out loud, which in turn had David laughing even more. I won’t give it away, but one word: weasels. You will laugh, which is always good in a film. Especially one like this where the humour comes not just from engineered situations, but from what you know about the characters and how they interact with one other. It’s their individual quirks which make them funny.
The story is, essentially, about a group of friends of different ages, romantic situations and with and without children, who go away on vacation. This a yearly tradition, however, this year it’s overshadowed by one of the group being left behind. Characterisation is where this film comes into its own. As I mentioned before, the cast do a sterling job. Each and every one of them is given the chance to develop as a person and you warm to them all, despite the flaws which emerge.
However, this is where the film loses its way a little. All the characters have their own issues and situations to work out, and as these become more prominent in the story, it drifts from comedy drama to just plain drama. Which is fine, by this point you’re involved with the characters and you want to know where their lives are headed, and the final scenes are beautifully done (although I was watching them through swimming eyes as I struggled not to cry), it just felt a little bit like two films, two fantastic films, but two nevertheless.
No doubt this feeling was perpetuated by the length. I didn’t mention to David that he’d agreed to sit through just over two and a half hours of film, especially given that last time I took him to Harbour Lights Picturehouse it was to see Greenberg, and that wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made. Luckily as I was sipping away at my wine, he’d had the presence of mind to buy a nice coffee. Two hours in, I was wishing I’d done the same. There is no way around it, this film is too long. I can think of numerous scenes which could have been cut (scenes that were ‘more of the same’, as opposed to anything that contributed negatively to the film) but then we might have missed out on some of the beautiful cinematography and the brilliant soundtrack. The music was inspired, a real mix that had my making a mental note to buy the soundtrack every time a new song started.
In summary, go and see it, preferably in a nice, friendly cinema like we did, with comfy seats, yummy snacks and drinks and maybe on a weekend when you won’t be cursing the next morning that you were up till 11.30pm. Enjoy the scenery, the people, the language, the music and if at all possible, a glass of wine.