By William Wolf


French writer-director Guillaume Canet has presented an amusing if over-long film at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. His “Little White Lies” (“Les petits mouchoirs”) is a lively expose pf personal angst on display when a group of friends get together for one of their annual ensemble vacations.

The fun is partially spoiled when one of their number is seriously injured while riding his motorbike and is hospitalized. What are friends for? Do they cancel their vacation trip and decide to stay close to his bedside? Not this lot. They rationalize that there is nothing they can do, and off they go for sun and fun with hefty doses of self-interest.

Problems quickly surface. One married friend is suddenly attracted to a buddy in the group, much to the object of affection’s anger and disgust. Old heterosexual attractions come to the fore. Since the cast is excellent, the performances are more appealing than the assortment of characters they play.

But one gets caught up with them, and the film is rich in comedy as well as in moments of drama and irony, but it does go on longer than the situations can justify (154 minutes, to be exact). The cast includes the appealing Marion Cotillard, François Cluzet, Benoît Magimel, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte and Jean Dujardin. The cinematography of Christophe Offenstein makes the film striking looking and adds to the overall atmosphere.

One can enjoy much of it, but some cuts would be welcome.


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