Ma's View:

This is quite a long movie but we didn't notice the time passing.  It hasn't received rave reviews but I think some reviewers have missed the point that it was a farce!  And like all good farces acted well (i.e. with perfect seriousness) it has a message that is true for us all.

A group of friends goes on holidays together as they do each year but increasingly are made to face the reality of where they are at in their lives and relationships.  Through a series of absurdly funny situations, they learn the underlying strong message that there is more to life than pure pleasure seeking and that truth and commitment in relationships is what matters not how much money, power, fun you have during your lifetime.

Directed by Guillaume Cluzet, the film depicts the life of a fairly typical group of modern, affluent Parisiens,  who, although long-term friends, have never closely examined what this friendship means.  Francois Cluzet, as Max, is the uptight owner of a successful restuarant who plays host to his friends and clearly revels in the status it brings him to splash his money about.  His wife, Vero, keeps him in line - just!  A lot of the humour is derived from his neuroses - both about weasels in the ceiling and about one of the group who has come out of the closet revealing his secret gay love for the very straight Max.  Marion Cluzet is superb as Marie - at once vulnerable and strong, desperately trying to find a path for herself that is true to her commitment to do good in Africa and her committment to her relationships.  Gilles Lellouche as Eric is the typical bad boy with the soft heart and Vincent, played byBenoit Magimal is an intensely sensitive individual dealing with his gay tendencies and trying to remain a good husband and father.

Perhaps the only flaw for me was that I could not understand how they could all go off on holidays when one of the number was in ICU after a horrendous motorbike accident!  Although he was unable to communicate and they planned to come back early, it just does not seem believable that they would all go off and give him hardly a thought for nearly 2 weeks.  Perhaps the point was that they were so hung up on the pleasure aspect of life that they thought that's what he would have done and would want them to do?

So what if the ending is a bit smaltzy, I still enjoyed this movie!

My score:  7/10

Pepe's View:

I agree Ma.  This is a wonderful movie - funny, sad and thought provoking at the same time. I can understand why this movie was/is such a hit in France - on the one hand it exposes the superficiality of "Parisiens" (as believed by the rest of France) and at the same time portraying a situation that is common in France and elsewhere when a group of friends spend time with each other regularly but not really knowing each other.
By the end of this long movie I did not want to leave - I had begun to care about the characters and, similarly to returning home from a wonderful vacation, did not want to say goodbye.
The acting throughout was first rate - an ensemble cast - and we were carefully led to an understanding of each character as an individual with their faults and their endearing qualities.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable movie.

My Score 8.5/10

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