Time Out (France; 132min.)

directed by: Laurent Cantet
starring: Aurélien Recoing; Karin Viard; Serge Livrozet; Jean-Pierre Mangeot
L'Emploi du temps

Diane says: "TIME OUT (L'EMPLOI DU TEMPS), directed by Laurent Cantet, is about a manager who is fired and can't bring himself to let his family know. Vincent drives around with his cell phone, pretending to his wife that he is calling from dinners with clients, etc., and teeters on the edge of a breakdown as he tries to keep up appearances and con his friends for money to keep his income up.

"Although the film does a great job at depicting the emptiness and genericness of corporate business today (everyone in every office dresses the same and does the same things--looking at databases on monitors, shaking sheaves of paper at their colleagues in meetings, speaking corporatespeak), I felt that the shame of unemployment was better addressed by the story of the gnome man in "THE FULL MONTY." 2cats.

And in response to Jane: "Jane, I understood the ending differently, although I didn't like what I understood. As I recall, the man had a strange smile on his face, as though he were in a pleasant daze or hypnotized as he listened to his new employer's corporate-speak. I thought that he was happy. But why, after all we had seen him go through? Perhaps the filmmaker's comment was that there is no escape?"

Jane says: "Finally got to see TIME OUT and was quite impressed, particularly with the lead actor's performance. That role required a great deal of subtlety and he delivered. SPOILERS COMING! As far as the ending goes, maybe one or more of you could comment.....after all he went through, engaging in such a deceitful charade, he just allowed himself to be pushed back into the corporate world....a fate one would think would be worse than death itself for this man. The implications of this choice were clear on his face - ultimately he would be unable to bear the stultifying atmosphere of such a position again. So I ended up feeling unbearably frustrated....which is how he apppeared to feel....so the director achieved his aim? (I have to suppress the typical American mainstream reaction -'Oh, for God's sake, didn't this guy learn his lesson?!' )
Laura says: "This film should strike a note with anyone who's ever experienced on-the-job stress or anxiety. Vincent is a man who can't live up to the standards his father has laid down before him, yet tries to emulate him by the largesse he shows his own son. In TIME OUT'S astonishing final scene, the elder generation's influence once again pigeonholes Vincent into the outwardly successful position he does not have the strength or drive to cope with. Recoing, who resembles James Gandolfini without that actor's physical menace, gives an amazing performance here, showing his soul being drained away within his eyes. The actor adroitly adjusts his personal barriers throughout the film, alternately revealing and hiding his true emotions." 5 cats
For Laura's complete review: "http://www.reelingreviews.com/timeout.htm"

And in response to Diane, in response to Jane: "Diane - I thought Recoing showed us his soul being sucked out by the way he acted with his eyes in that scene. I took the smile for 'interview face.' "
Michael says: "As an opponent of the corporate lifestyle, I found the French film TIME OUT to be an intriguing examination of the importance and stultifying nature of the high-powered job.

"Vincent has been fired from his job, but he can't bring himself to tell anyone. Instead he spends his days driving around, reading the paper at rest stops and calling his wife to tell her how busy his days are. After mentioning to his wife that he's thinking of changing jobs, he finds the lies he tells to his family (wife, three kids and parents) must grow increasingly grand. The reluctance to admit to his family that he's been fired is in direct opposition to the freedom he feels at being unemployed.

"An interesting look at the way our work can both define and smother us, TIME OUT features strong performances, and a nicely building storyline. I particularly enjoyed the Karin Viard, who played Vincent's wife and Aurélien Recoing's Vincent was outstanding. This one aged well with me." 4 cats.
Rob says: "Like a nihilistic Walter Mitty, Vincent (Aurélien Recoing) concocts an elaborate alternate life for himself, as he is unable to deal with the mess that his real life is becoming. He has lost his job, a fact that he hides from his family by spending the day in his car and faking calls from the office. He has not only started bilking friends and acquaintances out of money, but his father as well, enthusiastically spinning lie upon lie about his new UN job in Switzerland bolstering the economies of struggling African nations. Writer-director Laurent Cantet (HUMAN RESOURCES) has an uncanny eye for the mundane, portraying Vincent's dark downward spiral with stomach-turning realism. Recoing's descent into a hell of his own design is so well played, mirrored perfectly by Karin Viard as his naïve wife, Muriel. However, it is Serge Livrozet as Jean-Michel, a crafty ex-con and dealer in counterfeit goods, to whom Vincent opens up after his ruse is uncovered. Vincent's relief in confessing is immediately apparent, and their relationship grows subtly homoerotic, evidenced by the look of heartbreak that washes over him when Vincent returns to his family. It is one of many honest moments in Cantet's little festival of ennui that force us to confront the little bit of Vincent in us all, a rich and truthful glove across the cheek that we are all the better for having experienced. In French with English subtitles."