Film Reviews

"Little White Lies": A Bloated Spin on "The Big Chill"

A bloated spin on The Big Chill, Little White Lies follows a septet of grating, mostly Gen X Parisians as they half-guiltily decide to proceed with their summer-holiday plans in Cap Ferret after one of their clique (The Artist's Jean Dujardin) lies in intensive care after a motorcycle accident. How these friends met is never made clear; the women in the group, save for the ethnologist played by Marion Cotillard (the real-life romantic partner of writer-director Guillaume Canet, best known for 2006's overrated Tell No One), appear to have no roles other than scolds, weepers, and/or sexually unsatisfied helpmeets. The din of this crew's constant caviling and passive-aggressive insulting is further intensified by the puzzling, nonstop boomer soundtrack (I guess rights to songs by CCR and the Isley Brothers are cheaper than those by Oasis and the Fugees). By the fifth scene of everyone climbing onto the yacht owned by high-strung hotelier Max (François Cluzet), you might as well be watching someone else's unedited, logorrheic vacation footage — which you will soon be doing when the gang gathers round the TV set to coo and laugh at a compilation of their past beach sojourns. Of sole interest is Benoît Magimel's Vincent, who sheepishly confesses a same-sex attraction to one in the cabal; his moments onscreen provide the only break from this slog.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Melissa Anderson is the senior film critic at the Village Voice, for which she first began writing in 2000. Her work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.