Relationships thrive on white lies rather than complete candor in the breezy, smoothly performed French comedy of manners “True Enough,” the third feature from helmer/co-writer/thesp Sam Karmann. A light divertissement about the infidelities and other betrayals that bind a group of high-powered media, academic and business types, pic is an agile adaptation of a novel by American author Stephen McCauley (who also penned “The Object of My Affection”). A natural for English-language remake, pic performed respectably during its fall 2007 domestic release, and reps a pleasant albeit not particularly original fest/niche arthouse item for export.
Fast-moving ensembler intros three couples whose lives are gradually (and humorously) entangled. Central protag is 40-something Anne (the always sublime Karin Viard), a Type A producer/presenter at a Lyons TV station. She’s feeling a bit unsatisfied in her marriage to low-key lit professor Thomas (Karmann).
Anne’s former hubby, handsome, supremely arrogant real-estate exec Marc (Francois Cluzet), is now wedded to her substantially younger colleague, Caroline (Julie Delarme). Caroline’s advanced pregnancy is giving Marc an acute case of the roving eye.
Meanwhile, in Paris, aging gay author Vincent (twinkling Andre Dussollier) quarrels with his jealous young lover over an upcoming lecture tour to Lyon. Vincent’s research on forgotten jazz singer Pauline Anderton (played by the helmer’s chanteuse wife, Catherine Olson, in faux archival footage and by Ginette Bellue in later life) provides a poignant subplot that’s elegantly tied to the main theme.
As the characters mix and match, the wry, sharply observed script (by Karmann and Jerome Beaujour) offers some zingy dialogue, delectably delivered by the top-flight cast. When Anne arranges a lunch with Marc, ostensibly to see if he’s cheating on Caroline, he tells her, “You know me best.” “That’s why I divorced you,” she retorts.
However, pic’s primary point is most pithily expressed in an exchange between Anne and Thomas. Her “There’s things you don’t know about me” is quickly countered with “And it’s perfect that way.”
Entire ensemble cast displays sophisticated comic timing while etching universally recognizable character types and emotional situations. Production and costume design also do a terrific job of establishing character and setting.
Solid widescreen lensing strongly incorporates Lyon locations, yet keeps the focus on the acting. Lyrics (penned by Olson) about troubled romance further underscore the theme.