With A Friend Like Harry (2001)
Just saw WFLH starring an older, Frencher version that passive guy from That Seventies Show. This film will appeal to some indy fans more than others. Those who know and care what a folie a deux is will love it. To its credit, it will never catch on in America. Itís like real French food. There is some delicious garlic butter to be had, but American audiences will just call it snails. Itís sort of like an Eric Rohmer film that went off its medication. Itís got a lot of that nice French pastel color. Pink, white, red. And there is even more color that is merely implied with liberal references to drawing, crayons, candy and things. It borrows a little from The Shining and another strange film I bet no one has seen called The Music of Chance. The reason Iím not sure I can accept this as a great film is that Iíve seen several French shorts which I liked more such as Crazy Love, because it was more black and white, and another one about a guy whose wife is cheating on him with the town chemist (i.e. I canít remember the name), because it had much better music. Iím not sure whether or not I got all of the thematic content. Let me see. There was frank portrayal of psychological illness. Check. There was idle rich. Check. There was dirty diaper ennuie. Check. There was a hole in the ground. Wait, does that count as a theme? I hope so, because I think I understood that one. But that's okay. It's not as if I can pretend to know what any of Fellini's films were about either, yet 8 Ĺ is definitely the film I want to have on when I take my final breath.
Several great things in the film. There was a lot of first rate dark humor and situational irony. The moments where the guy just comes out and says the most shocking and uncomfortable things was definitely shocking and uncomfortable . The suspense was always there and the sexual tension was well done like an R-rated version of 'Scrubs'. That the car dealer never said anything was a superb touch.* That the film bothered to show to some extent the details of the actions and the psychological suffering of the characters should be commended or at least pointed out. Overall, I appreciate the film. It's very good, and Iím glad I saw it. I think serious movie fans should all see this film. I just feel like the French are capable of more, and I'm not anxious to see it again. It's also the first film I've seen since In the Mood for Love, so maybe this review is unfair.
Trivia Note: AFLH is the first feature length French film in which not a single person is shown smoking a cigarette.
Correction: "There is actually someone smoking a cigarette in AFLH. Michel's mother did when they arrived at the chateau the first time. I just rented it the other night." - Kate Rollins
Trivia Note Redux: AFLH is the first feature length French film in which no major characters are shown smoking tobacco products.
* Correction (Part Deux): "just wanted to let you know that there is a small error in the "With a Friend Like Harry" review, in the movie, the car dealer actually does speak, Harry asks him if there are any other colours available, and the dealer replies that he would have to order it, Harry then says that he wants it right away." Alex Firth (Well Alex, I guess that's how it should have been then, my way that is).