The FILM IN WORDS Netflix Film of the Week: helping you navigate the filmic minefield of the nation’s favourite video streaming service.
Words: Brody Rossiter
PARIS, JE T’AIME
Summer is upon us. Honestly, it’s already outstayed its welcome after two sticky sleepless weeks; which ironically is good way of summarising Little White Lies’ plot. What better way to celebrate the sunshine than watching a group of attractive Parisians escape to a picturesque beach house for their own midsummer vacation rife with secrets and romance.
Following Little White Lies’ release in its native land of France it went on to become a veritable box-office sensation; temporarily topping Europe’s biggest movie market with takings of around $43 million before being pipped to the post by Potter’s penultimate outing, The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Despite that tasty little factoid, I would encourage film fans out there to plump for the former in favour of the latter when first embarking on your 2010 cinema retrospective – I’d also encourage you to not watch Harry Potter.
Following a near-fatal scooter vs. massive speeding lorry accident which leaves the group’s ageing cocaine and booze addled wild child, Ludo (Portrayed by Oscar-winning ‘The Artist’ leading man Jean Dujardin) clinging to life in a hospital bed, the group reluctantly decide to “do what Ludo would want” and go ahead with their annual holiday. Incidentally, one of the biggest critical criticisms of LWL was that its characters weren’t particularly great friends.
Dealing with the trauma (or at least pretending to be whilst not ogling Marion Cotillard) of Ludo’s sobering crash and a series of sub-plot revelations, the group arrive in their own private slice of paradise primed to start tearing chunks out of one another as if it were Lord of The Flies only with better food, wine and those tiny French cars which Jean-Luc Godard’s imagination manufactured, zipping around like metallic mosquitos.
Little White Lies isn’t Avant-garde cinema, nor was it intended to tear asunder cinematic boundaries. It is accomplished summer popcorn entertainment from a proven director in Guillaume Canet (Tell No One) which relates that relationships whether friendly or romantic, can sometimes take a lot of work to make them work and even then they might still not work. The premise may be well-worn but branching story and character arcs that dip their Gallic toes into the challenging and murky waters of love and sexuality ensure an engrossing and dramatic rom-com experience.
The tone adopted throughout this recommendation may appear to cast Little White Lies in a rather shallow and cold light, but ultimately that couldn’t be further from the truth. It is a heartfelt and caring study of an ageing and evolving friendship group that flits between being funny and ironic, to deeply moving and melancholic with seamless ease. Clocking in at two and a half hours, it is overly long and overindulgent, but strong casting a delicate flourishes such as the film’s accomplished soundtrack and chocolate-box locales ensure time is on your side. Ultimately it deserved every penny that $43 million and the extra two that Potter pulled out of his pointy magic hat.