"The Four Types of Love"
What You Need To Know:
MY BEST FRIEND is a delightful confection from France that will nourish your soul and help you think more about others than yourself. It is a great example of good scriptwriting. The acting also is delightful. The lessons Francois learns are poignant and important. The movie opens with a priest talking about love, and, in the middle of his search for friendship, Francois passes a storefront saying, “Jesus is your best friend.” That said, although the movie rebukes deception, there is a plot device that requires disinformation and misinformation. The movie also contains some obscenities and homosexual references, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution.
(C, BB, Ro, Ho, LL, V, S, A, M) Light Christian worldview with strong moral content about a man learning to care about others and love others more than himself with a positive statement that Jesus is your best friend and a positive opening Christian funeral, also, however, some Romantic content and a lesbian homosexual relationship, and many moral points including loyalty, faithfulness, don’t be a showoff, don’t try to buy people as well as some deceptive content that is not rebuked; nine obscenities (some mistranslated) and one profanity; no violence except a man breaks a vase; two lesbians in bed while one talks on phone and a couple discussions of staying overnight, but nothing shown; no nudity; wine at dinner; no smoking; and, man is willing to break the law to prove his friendship and some deception to help someone out while other deceptions are rebuked.
MY BEST FRIEND is one of the most refreshing, delightful, intriguing, well-scripted movies to come from France in a long time. French moviemakers love character and dialogue but often forget the plot. This movie’s plot is a delightful, clue-laden puzzle that will make people want to come back and see it again and perhaps again.
Francois is an antique dealer who decides to buy a very expensive Greek vase for himself. His partner, Catherine, who is a lesbian, is upset and thinks he may have bankrupted their little shop. At a dinner party, Catherine accuses Francois of having no friends. When he goes around the table, he realizes that nobody in his immediate circle likes him. He bets the vase that he does have a best friend.
Like the movie THE ULTIMATE GIFT, Francois tries to find such a person. You guessed it, he finds that he has used, abused, ignored, and neglected people in the interests of his own success. After awhile, it becomes clear that the cab driver driving him, Bruno, who just lost his wife to his best friend, is the only one who will put up with Francois.
Bruno has an incredible wealth of encyclopedic information, which he uses to relate to everyone entering his cab. He can recall details like when a town was founded and who the famous citizens were, and ends up singing the town’s song with his passengers. Francois notices that everyone considers Bruno their friend, so he hires Bruno to give him lessons on how to be friends with people.
Eventually, Francois thinks Bruno is his best friend. Catherine eggs him on and tells him that a best friend is a person who will risk everything. Francois convinces Bruno to steal his vase to prove his friendship. When Bruno finds out this is a ruse, their friendship is broken. Then, Francois, with no thought of return, tries to give Bruno his one dream – to be on the TV program WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?
As C. S. Lewis points out in the book THE FOUR LOVES, the Greeks had four words, which we translate as one word, love. Although this movie is concerned about phileo, which is the Greek word for the love between two friends, its deeper message is about agape, the selfless giving that is the highest form of love and that is truly manifested by Jesus Christ who died for you and me. Not only does the movie start in a church at a funeral where the priest is talking about love (Francois is there, by the way, to take advantage of the widow), but in the middle of his search for friendship, Francois passes a storefront saying, “Jesus is your best friend.” The lessons Francois learns are poignant and important, so much so that I am going to recommend my older children see this movie.
That said, although the movie rebukes deception, there is a plot device that requires disinformation and misinformation, although one gets the feeling that the friends see beyond the ruse to understand the heart of the sacrifice being made for them. Also on the downside, Francois’ partner not only declares herself to be a lesbian, but is shown in bed with one of their female clients. A line of dialogue indicates Francois created this situation by his selfishness. Although Francois and Bruno are clearly heterosexual, in the 21st Century, there could be misinterpretations of their growing friendship. This would have to be read into the movie, because the dialogue refutes it. Another problem is that some of the light French obscenities are translated by the “f” word, which is very annoying.
Finally, it should be noted that this movie, although a comedy, is structured like a puzzle or a mystery. There are clues that, if you catch them, the movie becomes delightful, and if you don’t catch them, you want to return to unravel the mystery. If you catch them all, the movie makes perfect sense and is a great example of good scriptwriting. The acting also is delightful, especially when Dany Boon, who plays Bruno, is with his parents and reveals his fears before going on WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?
MY BEST FRIEND is a delightful confection from France that will nourish your soul and help you think more about others than yourself.