The Program (2015)

The Program
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: John Hodge
Based on: David Walsh‘s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong
Cast: Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Lee PaceGuillaume Canet, Jesse Plemons, Dustin Hoffman, Edward Hogg, Denis Ménochet
Seen on: 21.10.2015

Plot:
Journalist David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd) is impressed by newcoming cyclist Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster), but Lance’s career doesn’t quite take off. But Lance has the will to win. When he realizes that doctor Michele Ferrari (Guillaume Canet) has a special program – which consists of doping, among other things – Lance wants in on it. Ferrari declines at first but when Lance loses a lot of weight due to testicular cancer, Ferrari does see a viable candidate in him after all. Lance starts on the program, but Walsh grows suspicious of his incredible success and decided to investigate.

I couldn’t care less about cycling and I think doping is just stupid. These are not exactly the best starting points for watching the film and might explain the lengths I felt in an otherwise excellent movie.

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Une vie meilleure [A Better Life] (2011)

Une vie meilleure
Director: Cédric Kahn
Writer: Catherine Paillé, Cédric Kahn
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Leïla Bekhti, Slimane Khettabi
Part of: Festival du film francophone

Plot:
Yann (Guillaume Canet) is a young cook searching for his career break when he meets the waitress Nadia (Leïla Bekhti). They like each other and soon the two of them and Nadia’s son Slimane (Slimane Khettabi) are growing into a family. By chance, they stumble on an abandoned building that would be perfect for a restaurant. They decide to buy it, even though they don’t really have any money. The debts keep amassing and Yann and Nadia get in deeper and deeper.

The film is intriguing, but completely depressing and the ending feels like one huge cop-out. But the worst thing of all: probably for the first time in his life, Guillaume Canet wasn’t sexy.

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Les petits mouchoirs [Little White Lies] (2010)

Little White Lies is the newest film written and directed by Guillaume Canet, starring Marion Cotillard, Benoît Magimel, François Cluzet, Gilles Lellouche and Jean Dujardin.

Plot:
Ludo (Jean Dujardin) is the center of a very diverse group of friends. When he has an accident, his friends decide to still go ahead with the trip they have planned together. But the tensions within the group keep rising: Vincent (Benoît Magimel) tells Max (François Cluzet) that he is in love with him, despite both of them being straight and married. Marie (Marion Cotillard) tumbles from one bed partner to another, while her best friend Éric (Gilles Lellouche) is trying very hard to convince himself that he wants the relationship he has with his girlfriend. With all their various problems and troubles, do their friendships have a chance of surviving?

I very much enjoyed Little White Lies. It could have gone the way of so many “friends breaking apart” movies and just be overly dramatic, but it shows restraint in the right places (mostly), is character-driven  and just all around nice.

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Last Night (2010)

Last Night is the newest film by Massy Tadjedin, starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Guillaume Canet, Eva Mendes and Griffin Dunne.

Plot:
Joanna (Keira Knightley) and Michael (Sam Worthington) are a rather happily married couple. But after a business dinner, they get into a fight about Michael’s attractive co-worker Laura (Eva Mendes). The next day, Michael goes on a business trip with Laura while Joanna runs into her ex-boyfriend Alex (Guillaume Canet). And suddenly both of them spend a night grappling with temptation.

Last Night is a quite little movie. There’s nothing flashy about it, nothing that really stands out – neither in a good, nor in a bad way. It’s just a film you tend not to notice, though it is intelligent, surprisingly well acted and engaging.

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