Question: What values determine a friendship – a good friendship? Companionship? Loyalty? Someone who is there to listen or give advice? There are numerous ways to describe friendship but what about a close one, a best friend - the rarest of all kinds of relationships? I suppose we all have our measuring techniques for that but, for me, when someone does something for you, to support you because they know it will make you happy and without wanting anything in return, that type of friend I hold in the highest regard.
I delved back into a foreign film this week with My Best Friend. It was a French film that was released in 2006. Luckily the more foreign films I see the easier it is to stay in tune with the story even though I have to read. Remember I am a slow reader. If I skipped this film just because of the subtitles, like used to in the past, I would have missed out on a wonderful story.
It’s rare to see closeness among males in film – at least ones that aren’t about getting drunk, finding a girlfriend or over coming some stupid mistake and their “buddies” have to help them out of it. I know men may have the cliché that they are tough and don’t need to talk about their feelings or about their relationships; but we all have friendships that matter and those stories should be told. Men do have very meaningful friendships. And that is what I found in My Best Friend.
If you are concerned this is an overly sappy film, don't be. It is not. After reading what I wrote initially I want to ensure I didn’t turn anyone off with my introduction and thinking it might be a drama. My Best Friend is quite funny and will keep you smiling throughout.
Francois, played by Daniel Auteuil, is a man totally obsessed with his work so much so that he neglects the people in his life and isn’t always the most honest businessman. He is also self-centered and quick with a response without a filter. He is oblivious to his shortcomings until his business partner challenges, at a dinner party, to introduce his best friend within a short period of time. Challenge accepted and from that point on I was slightly reminded of “A Christmas Carol”. No, there aren’t any ghosts who come dragging chains in the middle of the night, but the main character has a mirror, so to speak, put in front of his face to see how he really is to people and why he is alone.
The humor of the film happens when he meets a taxi driver and their connection evolves. That’s it. No more details. Just rent it. I found this on Netflix but had to order the DVD as it wasn’t on the Instant Play.
My favorite thing: Well, I did like Francois' occupation, an antiques-dealer. I used to work for an antiques-dealer back in the day.
My least favorite thing: That I don't know more French words. When I watch a Spanish film I can catch a lot of words that I understand to help me keep up better.
Directed by Patrice Leconte, Fidelite Productions, IFC Films, 2006
Written by Patrice Leconte, Jerome Tonnerre, (story by Oliver Dazat)
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Dany Boon, Julie Gayet.
Length: 90 minutes
Review: 8 out of 10
* Photo courtesy of IFC Films.