Mon meilleur ami (2006) Poster

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A delightful, introspective French film!
Sergei (sergei_y)12 September 2006
Patrice Leconte's "Mon Meilleur Ami" (My Best Friend), as the title suggests, is all about friendship. Real friendship.

Francois (French star Daniel Auteuil) is a middle-aged Parisian with everything you could ever want - a rewarding job as an antique dealer, a stylish flat, a loving girlfriend, and a teenage daughter. What he doesn't realize, but soon brutally learns, is that he doesn't have any true friends!

The bet is made. Francois has 10 days to come up with a best friend to show off to his colleagues. If he doesn't, he will lose his newly acquired antique Greek vase. And so, the search begins. What we witness is a hilarious quest to find true friends, one that resonates well in real life. As Francois rides through Paris in search of his bet-winning friend, he encounters a trivia-know-it-all cab driver, Bruno (captivating Dany Boon). As the two meet over and over again in comical situations, we begin to wonder, did Francois finally meet his new best friend?

It's fascinating to watch these charming characters go through these experiences with friendship, something that we have all gone through. You will go through a whole range of emotions as you watch this film, laughter, shock, sadness. But in the end, this film reminds us what is really important in life - our relationships with people.

This film reminds of "Le Diner de Cons" with the great Jacques Villeret, and as that film, this one has something for everyone. I strongly recommend you to see it!

(My review is from the world premiere on September 12th, 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival.)
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A good bet
jdesando19 August 2007
Some are lucky to have so many friends that identifying a best friend is not easy; others have none. Francois (Daniel Auteuil) makes a bet with his business partner, Catherine (Julie Gayet), and friends at his birthday dinner that within ten days he can show them his best friend. They are confident he cannot.

A simple premise, a simple bet most of us could win given the same amount of time. Patrice Laconte in My Best Friend has once again created a sometime two-hander in which Francoise engages an outgoing cabbie, Bruno (Dany Boon), to help him identify the traits of a best friend and subsequently dredge said friend out of Francoise's past or present. The film is spent largely on the search, smoothly humorous and poignant in tracing the growing friendship between the two hunters and revealing the vagaries of any friendship, best or regular.

The notion of the challenge inherent in the bet is carefully parsed with a series of characters and incidents that do more to define who Francoise is as a human being than who that uber friend might be. The leitmotif best exemplifying the fragile and elusive nature of best friendship is an expensive antique vase dealer Francoise buys on impulse and becomes the prize for the bet. There's a parallel between the vase and the friendship that could easily be drawn by a discerning, often European audience. Another avenue of exploring the meaning of friendship is the competition on the French version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Americans should take notice of the film's excellence at this point.

Another sub theme comes in the relationship between Francoise and his business partner, an attractive woman with multiple challenging friendships herself. And then the other friends at the party. Everyone, it seems, must deal with friendship, whether in a bet or reality.

For some Americans, the whole idea of deconstructing friendship in a movie might be uncomfortable and boring. In the hands of a master director, it is amusing and shocking.
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Friends are unique to each other in the world.
rhodairis5 August 2007
"If you tame me, we will need each other. You will be for me unique in the world. I will be for you unique in the world". So says the fox to the Little Prince, in Antoine De Saint-Exupéry's "Le Petit Prince," when they meet up in the Little Prince's journey. The lonely Prince has asked the fox to play with him but the fox says no, I have no wish to play with you. I am not a tame fox. A discussion then follows as to the meaning of "to tame." The fox answers as above.

This passage, which appears in a journal kept by the taxi-driver Bruno (Dany Boon), is at the heart of this charming and beautifully executed film of discovery, loss, and redemption. True friends are special to each other because they have discovered a need that the other can fulfill. Because of this acknowledged need, they are special (unique) to each other forever.

This is a hard lesson for Monsieur Françoise Coste (Daniel Auteuil), an antiques dealer, to learn, since he believes that he is on top of the world, successful, an engagement calendar full of lunch dates and meetings with business associates, a daughter in college, and a girl friend who seems to adore him. He doesn't think he needs anyone. He's in charge. When he is hit with the hard truth that none of these people (with the exception, perhaps, of his girlfriend), would come to his funeral, he is forced to admit that not only does he have no friends but also that no one likes him.

Being the arrogant, ego-driven man that he is, he denies that he has no friends, and in a basically silly bet, accepts a challenge from his antiques gallery partner, Catherine (Julie Gayet) to prove this hard truth false. The prize is an expensive Egyptian vase that Coste has just purchased, against the wishes of Catherine, because he took a fancy to the vase. In the process of coming up with a "best friend" within 10 days, to win the bet, Coste learns what friendship means, and just how far off the mark he really was.

I am a great fan of Daniel Auteuil, and love him in this role as much as in any of his previous roles. Of course, he is greatly helped along by Dany Boon, who plays the talkative, easy-going, friendly taxi driver, Bruno. Equally friendless, but not equally unlikeable, Bruno good-naturedly, almost affectionately, agrees to Coste's request to become his teacher in friend-making.

First, Coste has to admit that he has a need, or problem. "A friend is someone you can call at 3:00 in the morning to help you with a problem," says Bruno.

"I don't have any problems," replies Coste.

"Yes, you do," retorts Bruno, smiling, "you don't have anyone you can call at 3:00 in the morning." One of the best lines in the film! There are more.

When I left this film, I felt a sense of sheer happiness unlike anything I've felt in a long time. Because I had been late to the film (traffic), I stayed for the next showing to catch those missed 15 minutes, and ended up staying for 45 minutes. I am not sure just yet why it gave me such a sense of joy and hope, but perhaps because it deals so honestly and with such good nature this painful issue of finding, making, and keeping friends in our modern, fast paced, success-driven world. A business contact is not a friend, and no matter how full our business calendars are, its whom we meet in the café for a heart-to-heart chat over an espresso or go for a Sunday morning walk with that is the real measure of our success in the world. If that sounds too tame a definition of friendship, well, Director Patrice Leconte sees it differently.
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A Winning Combination of Talent and Tenderness
gradyharp3 November 2007
MON MEILLEUR AMI (MY BEST FRIEND) is a gift from France to movie lovers. Though it can be considered a 'comedy' in the French tradition, it is also a fine examination of the importance of friendship in a world too cluttered with 'acquaintances' passing as friends. Just what a 'friend' means is only one important message of this lovely film: the manner through which we identify meaningful relationships is the other.

Writer/Director Patrice Laconte (Intimate Strangers, The Man on the Train, The Widow of Saint-Pierre, The Girl on the Bridge, Tango, The Hairdresser's Husband, Monsieur Hire, etc) knows how to take an idea and allow it to blossom without distortion or preaching. He understands the intimacy of friendships and knows how to draw superlative performances from his actors - an obvious extension of the concept of friendship! François Coste (Daniel Auteuil) is an antiquities dealer with his lesbian partner Catherine (Julie Gayet), and while François is a successful businessman, he is a self-centered isolationist who has never been able to make or retain friends, a fact that is put before him at the scantily attended funeral of an associate. François and Catherine attend an auction where François pays a high price for an antique Greek vase, a receptacle for the tears of an ancient man's friend. This purchases encourages Catherine to challenge François to a bet: François must introduce to Catherine a 'best friend' within ten days or the vase belongs to her. François, oblivious to the fact that he is completely without friends (including his own daughter Louise - Julie Durand), accepts the challenge and so the search for friends begins. François exhausts his possibilities, all the while being driven about Paris by a loquacious taxi driver 'Balanchine'/Bruno Bouley (Dany Boon) who has his own problems: he has worked all his life to prepare for a fact-answering position on a television game show, but suffers from a severe case of nerves when before a crowd. Very gradually the two men bond and François realizes Bruno is the closest thing he has to a friend. A plan is hatched which will apparently benefit both men's weaknesses, but as life often does, surprises alter the plans. How the film ends is so tender that sharing it would destroy the fluid progression of Leconte's storytelling.

Both Auteuil and Boon are superb in the leading roles and yet every minor role is in the hands of the cream of France's crop of supporting actors. The pacing of the film, the cinematography, the musical score, and the script are perfectly melded. Yet it is the magic hand of Patrice Laconte that makes this movie understated and wholly credible, allowing the audience to relate to the sensitive weaknesses of the two men and grow into their tenuous relationship. It is a joy to watch and remember. Grady Harp
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What a Beautiful Comedy!
I gave him 10/10, even if the screenplay isn't so strong, because this is a movie perfect in his genre:

I'm not a moralist, and I don't become upset if I see a comic film that uses vulgarities with the aim to make me laugh; if the movie is funny, I think it reached his goal, and it has my applause.

But this one, that hasn't vulgarities at all, made me laugh even much. In years in which seems that vulgarity is the better way to make laugh, this is a masterpiece.

A masterpiece to show everyone to spend 2 enjoyable hours together.

Talking about his weaknesses, I thought that last scenes could be directed in a better way, but the excellent Auteil's performance and the funnies gags, according to my tastes, fulfill everything.
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Bittersweet drama/comedy
seawalker28 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
(Is it just me or has Daniel Auteuil been in every French film ever made?)

Daniel Auteuil plays François Coste, a successful antiques dealer. He is an unlikeable man, so wrapped up in his work that he has barely any time for personal or romantic relationships. After some strained comments at his birthday dinner, François' business partner Catherine (Julie Gayet) points out that François does not have any friends, a charge he denies vehemently. Catherine then bets François that he could not introduce her to a single person who would call themselves one of his "best friends" within 10 days. With the help of a friendly, trivia obsessed taxi driver Bruno (Dany Boon), François sets out to do just that.

"Mon Meilleur Ami" is a slight film, and I liked it well enough, but the trailer lies. The trailer presents "Mon Meilleur Ami" as a farcical French comedy, but it is hardly that at all. "Mon Meilleur Ami" is really a little bittersweet drama/comedy. In fact, more bittersweet drama than comedy. Low key and thoughtful. It is about what happens when a man, who is absolutely sure of himself and his place in the world, finds that world disintegrating when he starts to study it very closely.

As I said, it is a slight film, but Daniel Auteuil is good and so is Dany Boon. If the ending is corny (and inaccurate - does "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" go out live in France, because it certainly doesn't in the UK?) and obviously formulated to be uplifting, well that's OK. You will be rooting for the right person at the end.
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Unexpectedly endearing.
Tim Johnson10 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This moving, sensitively drawn film was the second half of a double Diane and I watched at Luna Essex today and it was almost, and this says a great deal for this movie, the equal of the Australian film, Clubland.

Strangely, I felt as I did after watching "The World's Fastest Indian" some years ago. The film took a long time in building up to the climax and by the time the viewer has reached this point, they are putty in the hands of the director and actors; by modern movie standards, this is not a bad place to be.

Superficially, the plot seems to be a little overdrawn; however, as I wrote, it builds slowly and while pieces fall into place one after another, viewers are led, perhaps against their will, into a maelstrom of events that lead to an extremely rewarding conclusion.

I am not sure to what extent this film can provide cinematic insights into our feeble existence on this rock but as a piece of afternoon entertainment it succeeds exceedingly well. Daniel Auteuil as the self-absorbed and arrogant antique dealer richly deserves the praise that has followed his career as well as Dany Boone, the affable taxi driver who rather unwittingly becomes his "social teacher". The ending is, at least for me, unexpected and ties the many strings of this delightful script together.
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You are told you have no friends. You don't believe it and want to prove the opposite. You didn't expect the challenge would be so tough!
claudette-flint11 January 2007
I'll be brief because I doubt if Britain or US will see it before long. I saw it in France. It is the latest Patrice Leconte's film. This film comes after L'Homme du Train and is called MON MEILLEUR AMI (My Best Friend). Daniel Auteuil is an antique dealer who has no friend. His business partner challenges him to find a single friend. The most refreshing feature of this film is its total lack of political correctness (but is there any PC French among my compatriots?) They all say what they think without a second thought and this generates delightful dialogues full of Gallic humour and embarrassingly funny situations. What's more, this desperate quest for a friend and Auteuil trying to define friendship, make you ask yourself uncomfortable questions about your own friends!
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A friend in need, a friend indeed:)
mmunier22 June 2007
I adored this movie screened in Sydney independent theaters. Following, perhaps an overdose of G depardieu I learnt to appreciate very much Daniel Auteuil. I remember discovering both of them in Jean des Florettes and Manon des Sources. Both have gone a long way now. I liked the theme very much and I also know time where my best friend was only my shadow, this earned me top mark in an essay we had to write. So looking for a best friend can be very interesting. This film indeed makes this pursuit very interesting and enjoyable. I was surprised that comments gave it a just above average rating when I feel even a little guilty not to have gone for a perfect ten Go and see it you'll have a good time
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Auteuil has done it again!
jessonderskov20 October 2007
This frenchman(Daniel Auteuil) is just amazing in his way to convince in almost any kind of emotionally role. Here he plays the distant and at the same time so kind person with a natural attitude as if it was reality. A year ago i watched the film "La fille sur le pont" (aka. The girl on the bridge), today that is my favorite film of all times. That is the only reason for me for only giving a 9 to this one. I've now seen all his films that i could get with subtitles, as I don't speak french. I am very sorry because of the ratings so far. Due to my opinion this film is a little pearl. It is not a big masterpiece, but so well made and perfectly acted that it, due to my opinion, has deserved more. I think the whole theme friendship is more important then ever in this busy world, so it leaves a little bit to think about after watching it. For those who haven't seen the film, I would like to say: just lean back and enjoy it!
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It understands what friendship really means!
aharmas8 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If this film doesn't make a star out of Dany Boon, there is no justice in the world. Dany Boon plays the agreeable and kind cabbie that runs into a jaded and lonely antique dealer, brilliantly played by Auteuil. Auteuil is confronted by the sad possibility that his life is emotionally empty, that he has sought refuge in his professional life, slowly detaching himself from any personal relationships, including his own daughter.

Because of a bet, he is challenged to find a true friend in his life, and circumstances put him on the path of Boon, a man who is concurrently facing his own demons, but he is also a human being who can't turn of his love for others, coupled with a bit of a disability that might prove to be an asset in the final third of the film.

Auteuil and Boon both do superb work as the two halves of a human being that would make a perfect whole. Auteuil is overly rational and tightly wound; Boon is engaging, relaxed, and a little sidetracked. Together they appear to be totally incompatible, through their learning process, they become dependent on each other and learn how the world is both harsh and wonderful.

The film is not a true comedy. It shows the comedy in our daily travails, and how pathetic existences can be when devoid of emotional interaction. It is a winning film because it understand the humanity of its characters, never looking for a cheap laugh, for unnecessary farces, or easy punches. It forces us to look inside us and sympathize with the characters' perspectives. It's pure gold.
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One of the best French films since 'Ridicule'
forindcine1 September 2007
Most folks who know me fully understand my love for foreign film. A few close friends know French cinema is probably my least desired international cinema. Fact is I haven't enjoyed a French film since the 1996 period piece 'Ridicule' which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film that year. All that changed more than a decade later after watching the French comedy 'Mon meilleur ami' (which has been given the English title 'My Best Friend'.)

The film stars popular French actor Daniel Auteuil whose character, François Coste, is a tough art dealer, wonderful in his craft but has no personal or meaningful relationships. He regularly attends dinner with a group of associates who pointedly make clear that if he died no one would attend his funeral. François is so shocked and embarrassed that he bets a vase, worth 200,000 euro, that he can produce his best friend within 10 days.

François quickly finds he has no friends; even is daughter who occupies his home won't speak to him. His quest to become sociable and win friends is hilarious. Eventually, he meets Bruno Bouley (Dany Boon) a divorced cab driver who is an encyclopedia of unique facts yet magnificently sociable. Bruno gets nervous under pressure but has dreams of using his knowledge to compete on a game show which ultimately lands a spot on the French version of 'Who Want's To Be A Millionaire.' François convinces Bruno to help him get along with others and the chemistry between the two produce nothing less than comedic magic on screen. The two become friends until François does something completely revolting and they go their separate ways.

'Mon meilleur ami' is brilliant comedy, which is very serious about the essence of having a best friend to turn to when you need them most.
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Puzzling, haunting, but unsatisfactory as comedy
Chris Knipp8 August 2007
Catherine (Julie Gayet) and François (Daniel Auteuil) are partners in a Paris antique business. He has just paid so much at auction for a large Greek vase--itself a symbol of a friend's loyalty--that he's put the firm at risk. Catherine, who accuses François of having no friends, makes him accept a bet. Within ten days he must either come up with a "best friend" or forfeit the vase. François's self esteem now being as much at risk as the firm's finances, he bends to the task.

In the course of telling its story this film glances at some searching questions about friendship. What IS a friend? How many TRUE friends does anyone have? But as a comedy—certainly a very dry one—it ends by being neither revelatory nor funny. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like a comedy, and director Patrice Lecante and his writers may not have quite made up their minds what they were doing in the first place.

Certainly the raw material of comedy is here. All François' bustling efforts to dredge up any real chums, let alone a "best friend," are ludicrous failures. He has a daughter, Louise (Julie Durand), and business associates: no friends there. A high school classmate he thinks was a pal despises him. Everyone says he's an odious fellow, a "con"—an asshole. Along the way François meets a companionable and chatty taxi driver named Bruno (Dany Boon) who takes him around, keeps him company, and gives him tips. Bruno comes up with a "three-S" rule for "friend"-making: be Sociable, Smiling and Sincere. The trouble is that for all his chattiness—he's a wannabe quiz show contestant who compulsively feeds factoids to his fares—Bruno is a misfit with no friends himself. His sociability and smile don't mean he knows how to relate to people: the trivia recitations get in the way of that. As for François, he's clearly a person too wrapped up in himself ever to have connected with others. He goes to a lecture by the author of a self-help book on friendship, but the homely myopic man who befriends him afterward, he quickly abandons.

It's no great secret that this will develop into an offbeat buddy picture featuring François and Bruno. Somehow they will betray, abandon, and find each other again. If a friend is somebody you can call on in your most need, they've turned out to be true pals. Or have they? This, like various other key points, is an issue that's flirted with only to be left hanging.

Director Patrice Leconte, who made 'Monsieur Hire,' 'The Man on the Train,' and by now three films starring Auteuil including 'The Widow of Saint Pierre,' is doing something less ambitious here—but there are haunting, dark elements. We are all alone—as Mrs. Mulwray says in 'Chinatown,' "Isn't everybody?"—and Bruno says so too. Auteuil, who played the angst-ridden TV intellectual in Michael Haneke's 'Caché' recently, and once played the frozen soul of Claude Sautet's 'Un Coeur en hiver,' steps easily into the role of an urbane individual whom nobody likes. But though Auteuil is convincing, he isn't really droll. And the film is full of gaps and puzzles. If François is so odious, why is a good-looking woman wanting to spend her nights with him, and why are all those colleagues so willing to dine with him? Where are THEIR friends? A late sequence in which Bruno finally gets his wish and appears on a French version of "So You Want to Be a Millionaire?" provides a welcome change of scene and mood; but it's also painfully drawn out, and its payoff is obvious.

The principals are good and the package is glossy and attractive. But Leconte has failed to achieve effective comedy or resolved his subject satisfactorily. At the end, when we see his associates and partner celebrating François' birthday a year later, are we to believe he's now well-liked? Excuse me, but what happened? Hasn't the film failed to show the main action it was looking for, François' transformation? Doubtless these questions are not supposed to occur to us; but 'Mon Meilleur ami' is the victim of its own Parisian cleverness. It's too cool and elegant ever to fall into sentimentality. But it provides no credible examples of friendship or of persons who're whole and deeply connected. Catherine has a lesbian girlfriend in her bed at home, but there's no information about this relationship. Bruno's parents are nice little nonentities. Most other characters are mere walk-ons. The well-oiled hinges of this film's scenery move too smoothly and efficiently to allow for ordinariness, specificity, or warmth. Bruno's cheer is obviously fragile. He suffers from a lost relationship, as does François. Though it makes you think, in the end this film like its protagonist seems more manipulative than humane. "I no longer want to do overly serious movies," Leconte has said. He's achieved that goal. But unfortunately what he's made instead is one that's merely empty and a little sad.
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You don't really give a f*ck about other people.
lastliberal2 May 2009
There is no wonder that François (Daniel Auteuil) doesn't have any friends. He arranges to see an antique with the widow at a man's funeral. He can't even wait a respectable time. He only thinks of himself when he overbids on a Greek vase with the gallery's money.

His partner Catherine (Julie Gayet), who he didn't even know was a lesbian, bets he has no friends. She bets the vase and gives him 10 days to produce a friend.

He quickly finds out that no one likes him.

Auteuil was fantastic in last night's The Closet, and he has the same hound dog expression in this film. He was boring in that film; here he is just self centered. He even resorts to Dial-a-Friend.

He resorts to getting lessons from a cabbie, Bruno Bouley (Dany Boon), who makes friends easily, but he even blows that, his one chance at friendship.

He makes up for it secretly, and the two end up as friends.

Writer/director Patrice Leconte had a great film, and I certainly want to see more of his work.
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It's what you expect from a French comedy.
Sebastian Antunez2 November 2008
I actually watched this film on a crappy bus going from Rosario to Buenos Aires.

The screen was really little and flickering. But the film was so good it actually caught my attention and I really liked it.

One thing I could say was not too good is that you actually know how it's going to develop within the first minutes. It is quite predictable, but its point of view about friendship is really nice and makes you think about it too.

It's something you can watch in family or of course, with your best friend.

I really recommend this movie.
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From director Patrice Leconte and actor Daniel Auteuil, a sweet-natured film about friendship
Terrell-430 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Oh no, not another winsome human comedy about life-lessons and friendship. Buy a movie ticket or the DVD anyway. In the hands of director Patrice Leconte and actors Daniel Auteuil and Dany Boon, My Best Friend turns out to be not just a charming, sweet-natured fable, but a well-told and well-acted one. Francois Coste (Auteuil) co-owns a Paris gallery, has a great- looking apartment, seems estranged from his college-going daughter, knows many people in the business and has just impulsively bought at auction a very expensive Greek vase. One thing Coste lacks are any friends. Oh, he has plenty of business acquaintances, is reasonably cordial most of the time, but also, we notice, is somewhat distant to everyone he knows. He can talk antiques engagingly but he doesn't seem to really notice much about the people he talks to. When he gets in over his head financially with the purchase of the vase, his smart, good-looking partner is irritated. Francois has never even noticed that she likes women and has a partner of her own. She makes a bet with him. He has ten days to prove he has a best friend...or she gets the vase. Francois is smugly confident, until the people he adds to his list of friends begin telling him the truth. And then he meets a cabdriver, Bruno Bouley (Boon). Bruno likes people, listens to them, talks to them and has a great passion for odd facts. He wants to be on a television quiz program. People seem naturally to like Bruno. When Francois realizes he has no friends, real friends, the kind you can call up at 3 a.m. or who will do whatever it takes to come to your assistance if you need help, he decides to have Bruno teach him how to make friends. It doesn't work out quite the way Francois expects, or the way we expect, at least not till the very end of the movie.

Sweet-natured the movie is. Both Francois and Bruno learn some lessons that hurt, Bruno first and then Francois. That the story eventually works out for all concerned is no spoiler. We've smiled some, teared up a little, and left the movie house feeling well pleased and satisfied. We also ask ourselves, this is a Patrice Leconte film, from the man who has given us such exceptional movies as Mr. Hire (1989), Man on the Train (2002), Ridicule 1996) and The Widow of Saint-Pierre (2000)? It is, and My Best Friend is an amusing vacation from angst and irony and drama. It's a thoroughly enjoyable movie.

The two actors who make it work so well, of course, are Auteuil and Boon. They play off each other with great skill and authenticity. Auteuil is practically a French national treasure. Along with his contemporary Gerard Depardieu, the two have just about dominated French acting by male leads. Neither of them has conventional leading man looks, but both can play anything, from tragedy to comedy, from fools to heroes, and both can either dominate a movie or fade back into being one of the cast. Compare the versatility of Auteuil: Contemporary high drama in Cache (2005) and La Separation (1994), rollicking sword-play and romance in Le Bossu (1997), tragedy in The Widow of Saint Pierre (1994) and hopeless, dull-witted ineptitude in Jean de Florette and, especially, Manon of the Spring (both 1986).

Mon Meilleur Ami is an easy-going, charming movie about friendship and even love. "There is no love, just the tests for love;" no, "There are no tests for love, just love." Both make sense. That's why this movie works.
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L'Homme du taxi
writers_reign25 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
With L'Homme tu train Patrice Leconte strayed into territory that Francis Veber has more or less made his own, the conceit of two mis-matched guys being thrown together and forced to bond, but where Veber contrives situations in which they must remain together - often they are on the run - Leconte had the protagonists of L'Homme du train CHOOSE to remain thus. Now, in My Best Friend he gives us a wonderful bittersweet tale of diametrical opposites; Daniel Auteuil is a prosperous antique dealer with all the trimmings and lifestyle to match but one thing he doesn't have is a friend, let alone a best friend so when he bids - against the advice of his business partner Julie Gayet -two hundred thousand euros for a Greek vase he stands to lose it if, in ten days he can't introduce his colleagues to a genuine best friend. Cue Danny Boon as a trivia-buff cab driver who also has what Auteuil lacks, the gift to make people respond to his natural warmth. Boon (who ironically played opposite Auteuil in Veber's last mis-matched movie La Doublure) tries to coach Auteuil in social skills to no avail so Auteuil begins to think in terms of Boon filling the bill. When Boon realizes what Auteuil is up to he smashes the vase in front of all the colleagues who have come to see Auteuil win the bet and that seems to be that until a short time later Boon is a contestant on the French version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Unless the French version is radically different from the British version which is recorded and friends likely to be phoned are asked to remain at home at the relevant time, we have to assume that Leconte has altered the format in the interests of drama: Auteuil is actually watching the show live when Boon is faced with the million euro question which, as luck would have it, is about artists. Boon uses the fifty-fifty option which leaves him with a choice between Manet and Monet; he asks the audience, who are indecisive so, should he phone Auteuil who, remember, he has not nominated and can't be sure if he's even at home. If he DOES call Auteuil and Auteuil IS at home will he 1) even answer the phone - remember WE know he's watching the show - or 2) if he does answer will he give Boon the right answer or not. The film has only been playing since Wednesday last so I won't spoil it for those yet to see it. Suffice it to say I have rated this 9 out of 10 and I'll definitely buy the DVD. This is Leconte on top of his game.
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O.K. - More Fairy Tale
sunraider9 November 2007
The premise of this film is delightful but the film lacks the fairy tale quality that would have you smiling and loving the characters at the end of the film. It's almost too realistic and, as others have noted, has a cruel streak that makes the film a bit of a downer. Also, the situation the main character finds himself in is depicted as singularly unique, but is it really? We all throw the word "friend" around, but most are really just co-workers or acquaintenances. A friend is someone who has a key to your house and can walk in anytime and you wouldn't be surprised to see him/her there. In truth, Francois's life isn't all that different from many others.
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Mostly tepid with a general aspiration to break out into annoying.
johnnyboyz3 March 2013
My Best Friend is the sort of fluffy, inconsequential comedic concept movie one needs to be in a set mood to enjoy. It's absolutely harmless, but then that's part of the problem; it's predictable and a tad slight, but then we pretend we don't realise exactly where it's heading from a relatively early point and just try to go with it. Its politics are all in working order, but it sticks so much to the straight and narrow that it's difficult to get involved in a film that's so adept to staying in neutral. It's the sort of film that feeds off a nonsensical quirk of fate during its finale purely for the dramatic effect and so that it's central character arc may reach a natural conclusion in the most un-natural of ways. It's trite and difficult to like but I'd be lying if I said I hated it; a film with one of those really Americanised concept comedy sensibilities in that depicts two ordinarily oddball people thrust together into a chain of cause and effect that you come away from feeling you should have disliked more. Not every film needs to bite from a particular cherry akin to that of Before Sunrise, but with no invention; little visual flair and that annoying cut-'n'-thrust approach to its material on top of a screenplay playing it safe, it's little wonder there is very little about which to get excited in this mainstream French comedy.

The film first and foremost revolves around a wealthy middle aged art dealer named François, played by Daniel Auteuil. I like Daniel Auteuil. We all do. Here, he plays someone who we're meant to entrust is ruthless enough to attend someone's funeral, not out of the fact he's grieving for the fellow, but because there is business and such surrounding said event, while failing to attend would be bad for business. The problem being that even if for a second we thought François was the kind of guy with a ruthless streak, who casually speaks down a cell phone during a guy's last rites, it's DANIEL AUTEUIL we're talking about here – that likable actor whose been in some pretty decent films in the past playing some pretty decent chaps. A similar issue was the bane of 1999's The Lost Son, wherein he played a private investigator who we were supposed to believe snapped Jack Carter-like upon uncovering a kiddie prostitute ring. Not for one SECOND do we believe Auteuil as the "ruthless art dealer", or some kind of opportunist with an eye on a cash prize at the end of a good business slog.

François, aside from anything else, is a loner when away from work. He loiters with some folks already in their social circles, but is so out of touch with them he wasn't even aware one of them was homosexual. While they're all out at dinner with each other, François' social situation of not really having any bonds with anyone is raised. Thinking that clients count as mates, it's pointed out that knowing OF people and working WITH people is not the same as being their friends. The funereal from the opening arises, and the straw that breaks François' apparent back is when he realises that very few people will likely come to HIS funeral. François agrees to a bet with his accomplices: that he can find and maintain a healthy friendship with someone within ten days. Not nine, or eleven – not seven days (one week). Ten.

The catalyst is a little weak, but the issue the writers face reads something like: why would someone of François' nature and stature agree to a bet of this nature instead of just laughing off what these people are saying to him and walking away to resume whatever successes he brings to himself? Meanwhile, meet the nicest damn cabbie in the world: Dany Boon's Bruno, a softly spoken; smiling trivia enthusiast who ferries people around without a fuss but bores his customers with his endless talk of fun facts and trivial information. Like François, he speaks and engages with his "clients" but it seems mistakes what they say to one other for genuine conversation and that sense of 'getting to know someone'. He is ultimately friendless all the same, and it is François who happens upon his taxi in the space post-bet. Throughout, there is supposed to be this ambiguity over whether François is genuinely interested in building a friendship or if he's just got his eyes on the large prize at the end of it should he blag a mate in a week and a bit. No worries, for come the end..... Well, need I go on?

Those who liked 2003's "Apres Vous", more than I did, wherein Auteuil proceeded down similar routes in loitering with someone under madcap circumstances, might enjoy it but that film was a pretty decent love story and lent its comedy more towards farce which worked better than it had any right to. We don't buy Auteuil as who he is, and we're not a hundred per cent on Boon as a Parisian taxi driver who hasn't been this madcap or scatty since Samy Naceri tore up said city's streets in his converted Peugeot all those years ago. The film is bland and harmless, and I did not take to it.
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Charming performances can't hide paucity of development.......
ianlouisiana1 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Mon Meilleur Ami" combines the exploration of innocence and gregariousness of "Amelie" with the depiction of obsessive/compulsive behaviour as exhibited in "Rain Man" and tries to present the result as a light Gallic comedy,but,unfortunately,it doesn't quite bring it off. Taxi driver Bouley and antiques dealer Lacoste are at opposite ends of the spectrum,one cynical,misanthropic,money-oriented,the other naive, a free spirit who lives across the road from his parents - maybe a contradiction but not an impossibility - and obsessed with "facts" to the extent that he is apt to turn every conversation into a one man seminar.The plot device that brings these men together comprises of telling the audience directly that Lacoste has no friends and allowing the audience to realise that for all his affability and apparent outgoing personality,Bouley has no friends either. The movie concerns itself with charting their relationship in a "Boy meets boy,boy loses boy,boy gets back with boy" sort of way. Unfortunately,for a film that clearly wants to appear sophisticated it is rather too transparent and the last 20 minutes or so drag it down to TV soap level,negating the good work done by messrs Auteil and Boon. Because of the charm of the principals I wanted to like "Mon Meilleur Ami",from the start but I'm afraid it failed to live up to its credentials.
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Entertaining and touching
Gordon-116 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This film is about a wealthy antique dealer who does not know what friendship is. Due to a bet, he has to find a best friend in 10 days.

"Mon Meilleur Ami" is a beautiful film. The portrayal of François Coste is realistically unlikable. His social inaptness is very funny, and his search for friendship is hilarious. The humour is subtle but it works well. Bruno, a normally bright and sociable guy, has moments that he becomes paralysed by anxiety. Dany Boon plays his part very well, especially towards the end when he is on stage. He is likable, giving off a positive and almost irresistible charm. I feel so sorry for him as I feel he could have achieved so much more with his knowledge.

The friendship between them is portrayed in a realistic and humane manner, which viewers will have no problems relating to. For the ending, everything falls into place and I feel very touched by it. To see all the closure and forgiveness is very satisfying. I enjoyed watching "Mon Meilleur Ami" a lot.
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Taxi driver
jotix10021 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Friendship is a rare commodity. Some of us are better at making friends than others. Who knows what chemistry is behind the way one relates to another human being? In the case of French antique dealer Francois Coste, it is obvious he doesn't have any friends at all. Why, even his partner, Catherine, tells him point blank. On a dare, he tells her he will give her the Greek vase he has bought at an auction if in ten days he has not made a friend.

We realize when he meets Bruno Bouley, an affable Parisian taxi driver, that he finally is on the right track after being rejected by all the others he had approached, either to buy them drinks, or even trying to reacquaint himself with an old school mate. Bruno is indeed a happy person, something that Francois is not. While Bruno guides Francois in being a better person, their friendship comes to an abrupt end. It's not until Bruno goes to be a contestant in the French version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, that he has to contact Francois at a crucial point of the game.

Patrice Leconte's take on this film is not as heavy as most of his better made features. The director has a knack for bringing opposites in contact under the most unusual circumstances. Mr. Leconte proves he knows about what he is talking about when he decided to get this project to the screen. Co-writing with his long time associate Jerome Tonnere he delivers a light comedy to please his audience.

The film relies heavily on the two principals, the brilliant Daniel Auteuil, whose range goes from dramatic turns into comedic roles without an effort. His Francois is one of the best things in the picture. Dany Boon, who is seen as Bruno, is a pleasant and natural actor who matches his co-star well. Both deliver excellent performances. Also in the cast, a good Julie Gayet, who plays Francois' partner. Henri Garcin adds to the overall enjoyment.
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Lools as if should be funny; it is not.
raraavis-214 May 2007
Harmless, not too good comedy is the best description for this movie. The idea? When an antiques dealer is told by his business partner that he has no friends, he denies it. A bet is made that he must produce a good friend within a few days. The rest of the film turns around his attempts to make a friend (and I cannot say any more without spoiling it, improbable as that is).

The idea is good, but the script is unpolished, the character are overacted and the plot does not use quite a number of possibilities that might have turned this into a better film. Not terribly funny, not too credible and, at times, just plain boring. It's surprising that people like Leconte and Auteil should have taken part in this rather mediocre movie.

In brief, there are better ways to spend an evening.
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Enjoyable French film
studioAT21 May 2017
I don't watch a lot of foreign films. This is probably one of the few I've seen, let alone reviewed.

I take comfort then in the fact that this is a good one to see.

Full of funny observations on life and friendship, this is a lovely almost 'Odd Couple' style film that raises a few smiles along the way as it mixes humour and heart.

I'd say try and find a copy online or on DVD, as it was a surprisingly enjoyable film.
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"He who commissioned it,grieving for his dearest friend,filled this vase with tears,and placed it in his tomb."
morrison-dylan-fan27 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Whilst looking round for easy-going French Comedy titles,I stumbled on a Comedy starring François Hollande's "mistress" Julie Gayet!,which led to me getting ready to meet my friend.

The plot:

Going to a dinner with art dealing business partner Catherine, François tells a story of going to a funeral where only a few people turned up.Picking up his comment,Catherine says that she thinks no one would attend his funeral,(what a class act!) due to François not having any friends. Wanting to push things a bit,Catherine challenges François to a bet,where he must introduce her to his best friend,or she gets to take a valuable vase of his.After accepting the offer, François starts looking round for a "new" best friend.

View on the film:

Keeping the mood light and sweet with gliding tracking shots,co- writer/ (along with Patrice Leconte and Jérôme Tonnerre) director Patrice Leconte & cinematographer Jean-Marie Dreujou sweep along François's search for a "best friend" with wide shots that allow one liners to dart across the screen. Surprisingly leaving out any romance in the movie,the screenplay by Leconte/Dazat and Tonnerre instead takes the quirky buddy Comedy route,with the dialogue between François & Bruno cleverly being balanced to keep the Comedy sparks lit,whilst also moving their friendship forward.

Despite going a bit left-field with the game show final,the writers do largely keep the title on its feet,by making Bruno and François's very funny conversations in Bruno's cab be a sweet mix and match of off- beat and natural. Unexpectedly not being the romantic lead, Julie Gayet gives a very good performance as Catherine,with Gayet's sass allowing Catherine to keep François busy on his toes. Looking everywhere for a pal, Daniel Auteuil gives a great performance as François,thanks to Auteuil making François look ruffled at ever attempt he makes to get a friend,whilst Dany Boon shines in a heartfelt performance as Bruno,who meets (My) his best friend.
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