Director: Guillaume Canet
MPAA Rating: Unrated
It’s easy to write off Little White Lies as a French The Big Chill and leave it at that. A bit more and a bit less than writer-director Lawrence Kasdan’s wildly popular 1983 yuppie porn, Little White Lies follows seven rich 30-something Parisians boating, flirting, drinking, tanning, crying, sleeping around and revealing their fears and longings while vacationing in Cap Ferret. Meanwhile, their so-called beloved friend (Oscar winner Jean Dujardin) battles for his life in a hospital intensive care unit after a devastating motorcycle accident.
The writer-director of Little White Lies is the actor Guillaume Canet, who deserved the attention he won for his previous movie, the gripping 2006 thriller Tell No One. This new one, which features magnetic, highly watchable performances from a stellar ensemble cast that includes the aforementioned Dujardin, Marion Cotillard, François Cluzet, Gilles Lellouche and Benoît Magimel (a standout), feels more personal but also narcissistic. At 154 minutes, the film also feels overstuffed, especially when we get only the most superficial sense of who these people are, what their history is and — given how thoroughly unpleasant and offensive some of them, like Cluzet’s character, are — why we should give a damn about them. Things aren’t helped by the jukeboxy soundtrack that keeps inappropriately piping out American baby boomer classics.
The film is crowded with superb acting, beautiful faces, lovely scenery and great reservoirs of feeling, but a lighter touch in all things might have made it more powerful and even, in the end, truly memorable.