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With a Friend Like Harry... (2000)

Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien (original title)
1:18 | Trailer
Harry knew Michel in high school; they meet again by accident, Harry inserts himself in Michel's life... and things take a sinister turn.


Dominik Moll


Dominik Moll (scenario), Gilles Marchand (scenario) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Laurent Lucas ... Michel
Sergi López ... Harry (as Sergi Lopez)
Mathilde Seigner ... Claire
Sophie Guillemin ... Prune (Plum)
Liliane Rovère ... Mother
Dominique Rozan Dominique Rozan ... Father
Michel Fau ... Eric
Victoire de Koster Victoire de Koster ... Jeanne
Laurie Caminata Laurie Caminata ... Sarah
Lorena Caminata Lorena Caminata ... Iris


Michel, his wife Claire and their three little daughters Jeanne, Sarah and Iris are traveling to their cottage in Switzerland to spend summer vacation. When they stop the car, Michel goes to the toilet and a man stares at him. Soon the man introduces himself as Harold "Harry" Balestoro, who studied with Michel in high school and knows him very well. When Michel and his family go to their car, Harry parks his Mercedes Benz and introduces his fiancée Plum to the couple and invites themselves to travel to Michel's house for a drink. Later her recalls by heart a poem written by Michel and shows that he was obsessed for Michel. Harry is surprised that Michel does not write anymore and tells that he is wealthy since he has inherited his father's investments. Michel and Claire are middle-class and are still repairing their cottage by themselves. Harry and Plum stay for the night in the guest room and in the morning, Harry gives a 4x4 V6 Pajero to his new friends. They do not accept but ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Who needs enemies?

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violence and a scene of nudity | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Diaphana [France]




French | Spanish

Release Date:

15 June 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

With a Friend Like Harry... See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,495, 22 April 2001

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Miramax Films released U.S. version in theaters. See more »


[on how to deal with difficult parents]
Harry Ballestero: You have to overreact.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credit sequence, a straight-down aerial shot, the letters of the credits cast shadows on the ground (with realistic penumbras) as if they were actually suspended in mid-air. See more »


Sonate No. 5 for Piano, KV 283
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Ian Brown
See more »

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User Reviews

This fine French psycho-drama is an infinitely better experience than surrendering to Hollywood's empty amusement-park.
22 September 2003 | by philipdaviesSee all my reviews

As in 'The Shining' this film is a journey into the dangerous interior of one man's soul. There is an overt reference to Kubrick's cerebral shocker from the outset, as we float above the tiny car and its occupants as it threads its way through thickly wooded, and oppressive, hills.

The hell of writer's block into which Kubrick's writer, and the failed writer of this film, both descend is an inner space of deeply disturbing psychic distortion. After the introduction to the French family, unhappily travelling through life (as you might well say) in their paradigmatically clapped-out banger of a car, there are no more reality checks in this film. Hence our profound and growing unease at Harry's pat and superficial wish-fulfillment: He is the very incarnation of the irresponsible hedonism which lurks in the heart of a long-suffering family man, who can take no more. Even more inescapably than in 'The Shining' - which offers us the relief and the 'reality' markers of other points-of-view - we are trapped as viewers in the solipsisitic nightmare of one man's mental breakdown.

'The Egg' is the un-decodable hermetic prison - insisted upon in a macro-shot of an egg -- an excluding reduction of reality that rebuffs interpretation --- the germ of madness and the surreal --- -- in the French kitchen - whose place in the American movie is taken by pages and pages of neatly typed and stacked verbiage that is as repetitively devoid of meaning as a mantra. The search for meaning becomes a dangerous delusion. The deep-pink womb-like retreat of the parentally-bequeathed bathroom is much like the interior of such an egg in its hard ceramic insecurity. The red dream-arrogance of the off-roader similarly. And the red life-blood of all who come distractingly near is the sacrificial ink necessary to the reductive needs of the self-obsessed ego, for whom primitivism seems ultimately the only authenticity. This is a father who has become impatient of his responsibilities. This is a murderer in the making. This is authenticity as delusion. This is self-discovery as the heart of darkness.

The name of 'Harry' is one of the familiar names for the Devil. He is the original false friend. He is each person's lurking counsellor of the simplest, most brutal existence. He represents the self-destruction wrought by self-obsession. He is Alienation, the partner of Despair.

This magnificent and troubling film finally straps us into our seats and takes us on a voyage into the void where we had supposed the human soul to reside. I cannot think of anything more horrifying than the ad-man's dream of an ending, with the typical family borne - it seems - aloft on insubstantial and unlikely - unsustainable - dreams of the perfect transformation of life's unendurable imperfections. The difference between the first and the last passages of this family's life, as glimpsed in transit, is measured by the mental journey provided by the film; it is the stark difference between our suffering lives and the imagined perfection which is no more than Death's delusive seduction: The gorgeous Plum - the 'Devil''s wife - is barren. Her kiss in the embarassing bathroom - as is the case with the kiss of the re-animated corpse in the hotel bathroom of 'The Shining' - is the kiss of Death.

This is Cinema. This is the force of Creation at work, as in any art worth bothering with. Anything else is just waste-products. And I don't care who knows it. French cinema reveals here its continuing intellectual vitality, capable of engaging resourcefully with the problem of living - instead of merely making a commercial machine to take us for a ride outside ourselves. Being beside ourselves, as in this fine French psycho-drama,is an infinitely better experience than surrendering to Hollywood's empty amusement-park.

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