Little White Lies
Little White Lies is a drama / comedy that ultimately falls into a melodramatic stupor. It’s better than it isn’t, but the run time of 154 minutes pushes the boundaries between epic drama and overlong mess.
When Ludo (Jean Dujardin) is grievously injured in a car accident, his group of friends find themselves at a loss. They decide to leave on their annual vacation to a lakehouse owned by Max (Francois Cluzet), to gather their bearings and wait for Ludo’s recovery. Mario (Marion Cotillard) is a rebellious young woman with many problems, and a relationship for each one. Vincent (Benoit Magimel) is a married man who, before leaving on the trip, confesses his unrequited love to best-friend Max. This confession causes a rift between the two of them for the vacation. Antoine (Lauren Lafitte) and Eric(Gilles Lellouche) are two love-sick puppies with hearts stuck in Paris. Most of “Little White Lies” takes place at the vacation house, where tensions between the characters boil over amid happy days of boating and wine.
Although the story isn’t terribly original, the characters and relationships are arresting. Stand-outs include Cotilliard, whose ultimate break down is the fine display of real tears and real acting. Cluzet and Magimel’s tension is largely unspoken, portrayed with subtle glances and misplaced aggression. The least interesting story belongs to Antoine, whose drama is largely about whether or not to text a girl he likes. While Lafitte gives it his all, there’s just nothing cinematically arresting about SMS conversations.
Much brouhaha has been made about the on-location shooting of the vacation house, so it’s worth mentioning here. If there wasn’t so much drama to attend to, “Little White Lies” could easily be repurposed as an advertisement for Mediterranean beach vacations. The characters swim, tube, water ski, play soccer, visit quaint markets, and sit under the stars each night. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the film was, in part, sponsored by a travel agency.
Most of the drama is conveyed via dialog, and so the ending of the film came across as a bit melodramatic and absurd. Yet, the power and actual intensity, built upon two hours spent with these characters, is more than one can usually expect from this sort of film. Regardless, “Little White Lies” is definitely a great example of the pleasure being in the journey, rather than the destination.
“Little White Lies” is now available on Blu-Ray. It includes a behind the scenes featureand the original trailer.