A Little Gem: French dramedy "A Great Friend" with Lambert Wilson is a must-see

The heart of friendship © Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
The heart of friendship © Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
The heart of friendship © Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

A Great Friend (Les Choses Simples), is a French film by Éric Besnard starring Lambert Wilson, Gregory Gadebois and [Click "Lire la suite" to read more]

Copyright for the main image of this article:
The heart of friendship © Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

A Great Friend (Les Choses Simples), is a French film by Éric Besnard starring Lambert Wilson, Gregory Gadebois and Marie Gillain. This movie did not receive much publicity upon its release but thanks to a good reaction from critics and great word of mouth, it became a quiet success with over 500,000 spectators in French theaters. It is a sweet and charming film that offers a perfect escape from the chaos of the world, reminding us of the importance of slowing down and cherishing the simple things in life.

Where to watch French movies with English subtitles?

TV5MONDE USA is what you're looking for if you have a knack for French-speaking films and TV shows. With a TV5MONDE subscription, you can watch the live broadcasting of TV5MONDE, the only French language entertainment network in America which airs hundreds of French movies with English subtitles every year. This will also give you access to the on demand platform TV5MONDE Cinema which presents a selection of newly released French movies and classic French films every month, and finally TV5MONDEplus, the French streaming platform and its impressive catalogue of French-language movies and TV shows, available with French and English subtitles. 

Find out more about TV5MONDE and subscribe now

The story follows Vincent (Lambert Wilson), a business man and workaholic living a fast life, whose car breaks down in the middle of the French countryside in a small road. Luckily for Vincent, Pierre (Grégory Gadebois), a reclusive rustic, stops and offers his help to Vincent. What starts as a random encounter becomes a turning point in the lives of both men. Isolated in the heart of a luxuriant nature, the two men that everything seems to oppose may even become friends.

The movie came together when Eric Besnard, the director, was inspired by the cinema of John Ford, who could always tell great stories through a simple script with no fuss and twists. The idea was to create a movie about a meeting between two people that should have never met, which was something that start happening less and less in a post covid world, noted the director. And what Éric Besnard wanted to emphasize is that society has taught us to be scared of others, especially if they live a very different life than ours.

Finally, the writer-director was looking to focus on the French countryside and the simplicity of life in rural areas. For that purpose, the movie was shot in the Rhône-Alpes Auvergne region.

Lambert Wilson, always where you don't expect him

For the casting, Éric Besnard knew from the beginning he wanted Grégory Gadebois as Pierre. The two had already made a film together, the mouth-watering movie about French food Delicious (Délicieux). The other role was difficult to cast, especially as the role wasn't written with anyone in mind. But when Lambert Wilson read the script and asked to be the Vincent of the film, then it all clicked for Éric Besnard.

Read more: The top 10 movies with Lambert Wilson

For an American audience, it might be surprising to see Lambert Wilson, aka The Merovigian (also known as the Frenchman) in the Matrix franchise. The French actor has been featured in many American blockbusters: Catwoman, Babylon A.D., Sahara and of course The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolution and The Matrix Resurrection. But in France, Lambert Wilson is known for his roles in award-winning dramas like The Odyssey and Of Gods and Men. A Great Friend shows once again his incredible range as an actor.

Why you should watch Lambert Wilson’s movies if you like French cinema

What to watch if you liked "A Great Friend"

The opposition between the person coming from Paris and someone from the countryside is a typical theme in French cinema and A Great Friend is no exception. The film explores the cultural differences between the fast-paced life of a city dweller and the slow, peaceful lifestyle of a rural farmer. Throughout the film, we see how people are often scared of what they don't know, but ultimately, through friendship and empathy, can come to understand and appreciate the differences in others.

A Great Friend is a movie that celebrates the beauty of the simple things in life and reminds us of what truly matters. So if you liked it, we suggest you watch these three films

Life Is A Long Quiet River (La vie est un long fleuve tranquille)

Life Is A Long Quiet River is a French film directed by Étienne Chatiliez that explores the theme of swapped babies. The movie follows two families from vastly different backgrounds who learn that their babies were switched at birth. One family is wealthy and privileged while the other is poor and working-class. The two families clash in their differences, highlighting the social and cultural gaps that exist in French society. The film offers a comedic take on this serious issue, while ultimately also exploring the importance of family, love, and acceptance. With its witty writing and great performances, Life Is A Long Quiet River became a critical and commercial success upon its release, becoming a cult classic in France.

Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis)

Welcome to the Sticks, also known as Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, is a French comedy film directed by Dany Boon. The movie follows the story of a post office worker, Philippe Abrams, who is hoping to be relocated to the French Riviera, but instead gets transferred to Bergues, a town in Northern France. Philippe is initially hesitant about his new location, as the region is known for being cold, rainy, and the locals are stereotyped as uneducated. However, despite his initial reluctance, Philippe comes to love the town and its people, eventually finding happiness and acceptance. The movie humorously tackles the topic of regional stereotypes and prejudices in France, highlighting the misunderstandings that can occur between different areas of the country. With over 20 million tickets sold, it became the highest-grossing French film of all time in France and a beloved popular classic.

Cycling with Molière (Alceste à Bicyclette)

Cycling with Molière, or Alceste à Bicyclette, is a French film directed by Philippe Le Guay, released in 2013. The movie follows two celebrated actors who reunite after years apart in the idyllic surroundings of Ile de Ré, an island off the western coast of France. Both of them have struggled with their careers in recent times, with one of them seeking to relive his glory days by staging a production of the classical play, The Misanthrope, by Molière. The other actor is initially hesitant but eventually agrees to participate in the production. As they work together, old rivalries and resentments resurface, creating a tense but ultimately touching dynamic between the two.

Subscribe and stream French movies now on TV5MONDE