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Time Out (2001)

L'emploi du temps (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama | 14 November 2001 (France)
2:03 | Trailer
An unemployed man finds his life sinking more and more into trouble as he hides his situation from his family and friends.


Laurent Cantet


Robin Campillo (scenario), Laurent Cantet (scenario)
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Aurélien Recoing ... Vincent
Karin Viard ... Muriel
Serge Livrozet Serge Livrozet ... Jean-Michel
Jean-Pierre Mangeot Jean-Pierre Mangeot ... Father
Monique Mangeot Monique Mangeot ... Mother
Nicolas Kalsch Nicolas Kalsch ... Julien
Marie Cantet Marie Cantet ... Alice
Félix Cantet Félix Cantet ... Félix
Olivier Lejoubioux Olivier Lejoubioux ... Stan
Maxime Sassier Maxime Sassier ... Nono
Elisabeth Joinet Elisabeth Joinet ... Jeanne
Nigel Palmer Nigel Palmer ... Jaffrey
Christophe Charles Christophe Charles ... Fred
Didier Perez Didier Perez ... Philippe
Philippe Jouannet Philippe Jouannet ... Human resources director


Recently fired from his job, but unable to confess the truth to his close-knit family, Vincent spends his days driving around the countryside, talking into his cell phone and staring into space. Vincent fabricates a new job for himself so his family and friends will not know that he is out of work. At one point, he even sneaks into an office building. As Vincent roams the building's sterile halls, peeking into meeting rooms where men are busy at work, we see a man who yearns not just for a new job, but also for a place in the world. While this pantomime of work initially registers as sad and even a little pathetic, it slowly and unnervingly becomes terrifying. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Now he must decide between his life of lies...or the truth.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Inspired by a true story, that of Jean-Claude Romand. In reality, Romand went on to kill, on January 9, 1993, his wife, two children and both his parents. See more »


Muriel: Did you think you'd lost me?
See more »


Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »


Composed by Marian McPartland
Published By KPM Music Phonographic Copyright
(p) & © 1972 KPM Music
See more »

User Reviews

Choosing between lies and truth
27 January 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Foreign language films have always been very close to my heart, find them very eye-opening and educational. So has the lovely and very poetic French language, which from experience of studying it at school and at music college is one of the more accessible languages to learn, with not having to learn as many rules or phonetic symbols/alphabets. For instance, Russian is another wonderful language, but seven years on from first starting to learn it there is still confusion translating phonetic symbols and remembering hard and soft signs.

What drew me into seeing Laurent Cantet's films was his themes and subjects. They seemed so intriguing, so realistic and very easy to relate to, and have always liked that in film. 'Time Out', dealing this time in choosing between truth and lies and living a deceptive life, is another fascinating and very well done film of his, though it will never be one of my favourites. 'Time Out' handles its quite disturbing story, and it gets increasingly so, in a way that is mostly quite powerful. It sounds very unsympathetic and difficult to get behind, as dishonesty and deception are not worthwhile traits, but Cantet's storytelling is surprisingly (or at least to me it was) the opposite.

Visually, 'Time Out' did not look cheap and actually gave the film a realism. Some of the shots are quite beautiful surprisingly. Cantet directs with remarkable skill and efficiency, clearly engaging with the material and balancing it surprisingly well. The script is thought-provoking, remarkably nuanced if sparse. The characters do compel and feel real rather than being caricatures. Aurelien Recoing's lead performance is quite astonishing, as is expressive Karin Viard giving depth to a role that could have been thankless or plot-device-like (neither the case).

Really admired much of the storytelling here, which succeeds in not making the tension heavy-handed and making the family drama realistic and easy to relate to. There is tension which increases, but it is of the subtle kind rather than overt. More telling is the emotional impact, enhanced by the most hauntingly beautiful music score of any of Cantet's films perhaps, which made for some very poignant moments. The pace is deliberate and meditative, but it didn't seem dull to me.

Personally would have liked more development and insight into the motivations, with it not always being clear why things happen. 'Time Out' does go on for a little too long, with some of the slight stretches feeling on the dull side.

'Time Out's' ending felt rather abrupt and tacked on.

On the whole though, it is a fascinating and well executed film. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

14 November 2001 (France) See more »

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Time Out See more »

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Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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