Les Petits Mouchoirs (2010)

Little White Lies (English Title)
Short Facts

Starring: , , , ,
Genre: ,
Runtime: 154 minutes
MPAA Rating: France: Tous publics, US: n/a, UK: 15A
Filming Dates: August 3 - October 23, 2009
Filming Locations: Paris & Cap Ferret (France)
Theatrical Release: France: 20 Oct 2010, US: 24 Aug 2012, UK: 15 Apr 2011
DVD Release: France: 23 Feb 2011, US: 5 Feb 2013, UK: 22 Aug 2011

The one thing friends can't escape is a few home truths

Despite a traumatic event, a group of friends decide to go ahead with their annual beach vacation. Their relationships, convictions, sense of guilt and friendship are sorely tested.

They are finally forced to own up to the little white lies they have been telling each other.


• The cast lived for five 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 premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
• Guillaume Canet let Marion choose which character she wanted to play. She opted for the part of Marie. “I chose Marie, so I thought, well, there must be something that I have to explore there.”

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From Marion Cotillard

I followed the process from near and afar depending on my own schedule. Early on, he mentioned that he wanted us to work together. When I read the first draft. I was immediately touched by the way he gets under the surface of how we interact, and by the subtlety, honesty and sincerity of what he was trying to say.

Guillaume is very observant, with a highly developed artistic sensitivity. He has created a group of believable, close-knit characters.

We spent time with him individually, discussing his vision of our characters. Then he got us together for a series of table-reads in Paris, which resulted in certain adjustments to establish the balance between the various characters.

One of the most inspiring moments was the few days we spent in Cap Ferret in the house where we would be shooting the movie. It was an opportunity to share our insights and get to know each other better. It was important to develop a group dynamic and genuine friendships.

On set, Guillaume constructs a space where everything possible is done to make the actors feel confident and at ease. A director who so deeply knows and understands actors makes the job very easy, even exhilarating. There were times when we felt like we simply weren’t acting anymore.

It was a great time, really. We really had to work hard on the movie, because most of us are friends in real life and the locaion is the place where we go for our summer vacation. So it was very strange to suddenly be in the same places, with some of the same people, wearing kind of the same clothes and having kind of the same interactions – but with different names and different pasts. For the film we had to create entirely new relationships for ourselves.

Marie’s an ethnologist. She studies human beings thousands of miles away to avoid having to face her own inner turmoil. Marie’s scared. She runs.

The trouble is, around the age of thirty, you reach a stage where new priorities emerge after a period oftaking life as it comes. There is a need, partly driven by fear, to take stock. It’s a turning point that forces you into a little bit of soul-searching.

It’s very hard for me to see this movie because for most of it, it is me. She is not comfortable in her life. On the surface she’s got a great bunch of friends but inside she is very insecure – so I see myself on the big screen. It was unbearable and I couldn’t watch it. Unlike Marie, I’ve never slept with the entire city like she does – boys, girls. I mean, I had my experiences but not like, “Whoo hoo! Party! Sex time!” No, it was so weird. It was like, “Oh my god, this is me. That’s what I feel.” And you don’t want to see yourself [feeling genuinely] uncomfortable. It was kind of hard.

It was very different because for a few years I had travelled: from the ’20s to the ’60s with Piaf; and then to the ’40s with ‘Public Enemies’, then to the ’60s with ‘Nine'; ‘Inception’ was… out of time. Then, suddenly, I can wear jeans, I can talk my own language. So it’s at the same time relaxing and really scary. Sometimes I had to take me back in. I didn’t have to create a world for Marie because I know this world, I live in this world. So sometimes I was kind of lost because I didn’t know exactly how to create my structure. This was someone I could have a beer with. When I saw the film for the first time it was horrible because I could see things of myself that I can’t usually see, but something that I could feel was mine: a little expression; a way to move my head; and it was horrible! It was horrible!

From reviews

And the consistently impressive Marion Cotillard, whose huge saucer eyes were just made for crying – and who gives them a damp workout here, as the carefree heartthrob of the group who actually is far more serious, and wounded, than she dares let on.
• Newark Star-Ledger

If it all sounds a bit, well, dramatic, there’s actually plenty of crisp comedy to temper the heavier stuff, at least in the earlier going, with bright, energetic turns from Cluzet and the ever-lovely, always genuine Cotillard.
• The Hollywood Reporter

Cotillard offers a strong presence, though Marie’s character feels too diffuse.
• Variety

But over a leisurely two-and-a-half hours, he does add a few new spokes, mostly thanks to a great cast led by his Tell No One leading man François Cluzet and Marion Cotillard, his off-screen leading lady.
• Total Film

After seeing Cotillard in the one-note roles of Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, it’s a pleasure to watch her unfold a complicated characterization over time — even if some of the developments are cliched.

As commitment-wary best friends, Gilles Lellouche and Cotillard, who delivers a lovely, unfussy performance, play the only characters who aren’t one-note.
• Los Angeles Times

“Little White Lies,” however, is very well acted by a cast whose A-list stars include Mr. Dujardin and Marion Cotillard, who plays Marie, Ludo’s free-spirited, bisexual former girlfriend. An anthropologist recently returned from the Amazon rain forest, Marie is a promiscuous, self-pitying beauty who cannot commit to anyone, and Ms. Cotillard, an actress who seems incapable of making a false gesture, doesn’t strain to make her likable.
• New York Times

Marion Cotillard, superb as always
• Toronto Star

While the acting is superb—Cotillard is always impressive, and Magimel in particular wrings sympathy from his lovelorn frustration and embarrassment—the film flounders with repetition, baggy self-indulgence, characters that read like caricatures, and a crushingly unsubtle and unsurprising last-act twist.
• A.V. Club

The film features a string of quality performances, headlined by Francois Cluzet and Marion Cotillard. Cotillard plays a vulnerable young woman who exudes charm but has a deep-seeded fear of commitment. When her latest boyfriend calls to say that he’s coming down to visit, she’s running scared.
• ABC Radio Brisbane

While the individual dramas fail at originality they still manage to engage thanks to the fantastic work of the cast. … Cotillard has rarely been this charming and fragile, and she makes it easy to see why men fall for Marie and then find it difficult to let go.
• Film School Rejects

Awards & Nominations

= Win = Nomination

None for this performance