Little White Lies is a 2010 French comedy-drama film written and directed by Guillaume Canet, starring an ensemble cast of François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Benoît Magimel, Gilles Lellouche, Jean Dujardin, Laurent Lafitte, Valérie Bonneton and Pascale Arbillot. The original French title is Les petits mouchoirs, which means "the small handkerchiefs" (see explanation below). The film was released in France on 20 October 2010.
The French title Les petits mouchoirs refers to a French expression le mettre dans la poche avec le mouchoir par dessus, which means "to put something in your pocket with your handkerchief on top of it," in other words to keep something hidden, try to forget about it, not want to think about it.
In a Parisian nightclub, party man Ludo (Jean Dujardin) takes off late at night on his scooter, where he's blindsided by a truck. Lying between life and death in the hospital, Ludo is visited by his band of longtime pals, who decide that the gruesome crash should not prevent them from embarking on their coveted summer holidays.
Prior to the trip, another major problem arises when one of the friends, osteopath Vincent (Benoît Magimel), confesses his attraction to nervous-wreck restaurateur Max (François Cluzet); their initial tête-à-tête is one of the film's comic highlights. Both are married, and Max clearly isn't game, so when they arrive later with their families at his pristine seaside cottage, tensions are sky-high. The group's stress level is further goosed by pot-smoking rebel Marie (Marion Cotillard), lovesick actor Eric (Gilles Lellouche) and the even more lovesick Antoine (Laurent Lafitte), all of whom are suffering from failed or failing relationships.François Cluzet as Max Cantara
Marion Cotillard as Marie
Benoît Magimel as Vincent Ribaud
Gilles Lellouche as Eric
Jean Dujardin as Ludo
Laurent Lafitte as Antoine
Valérie Bonneton as Véronique Cantara
Pascale Arbillot as Isabelle Ribaud
Louise Monot as Lea
Anne Marivin as Juliette
Joël Dupuch as Jean-Louis
Hocine Mérabet as Nassim
Maxim Nucci as Franck
The script took five months to write. The cast lived for three days in May at the house which would be used as a principal filming location, so it would feel familiar to them when they returned in the summer. The film began production in August 2009 and ended in October. The shooting took place in Paris and Cap Ferret.
The film premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. It was released in France on 20 October 2010 through EuropaCorp Distribution, who launched it on over 550 screens.
The reception of the film had mixed reviews. The current IMDB score is 7.1, whereas Rotten Tomatoes scores it at 41%.
Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half stars out of four, remarking that "The American film that comes to mind is "The Big Chill." and "It is the oyster fisherman who finally regards them all and presents the plain-spoken truth. What he says was waiting for someone to say. Joel Dupuch says it so well I hope he acts again. He has the presence. There are times when "Little White Lies" seems to meander, until we realize it knows exactly where it is going."
The film was panned by Philippe Azoury of Libération, who thought it was too long, strangely cast, and that all of its female characters were stereotypes. Le Parisien's Marie Sauvion was more ambivalent and divided the review in a pros and a cons section. The pros were that she found the genre in itself sympathetic, and how the film manages to use individual scenes to give the viewer a feeling of participation and shared enjoyment. On the negative side, she thought it was too unsubtle and predictable, and uses too much music to intensify emotional scenes, "In case we didn't understand when to be moved?" The film won London's Favourite French Film award in 2011.
The music in the film is mainly American with English lyrics.