The Measure of a Man

A Simple Man movie poster

A Simple Man poster

Everything is pretty ordinary in The Measure of a Man. As the title implies, the film follows one simple man through his ordinary life as he struggles to get a job. The film’s direction and script are however far from being simplistic, creating an experience that will haunt you for a while.

As soon as the movie opens, you get thrown into harsh, realistic social and professional environments. Staging most of the action behind closed doors, the filmmaker manages to create a highly claustrophobic setting, without using any artifice. We feel Thierry’s inner struggle through his body language and his various meetings – whether it’s with a counselor, a recruiter, a banker or an intern – almost look like boxing matches. Humiliated, crushed, Thierry (Vincent Lindon delivering some strong performances) resists and just wants a fresh start. While he’s ready to make some sacrifices, he also has his limits and every penny counts. The camera shows us the world through his eyes, becoming nervous when aiming at showcasing tensions.

Everything however changes as soon as he lands a job. Hired a security guard, he starts spying on both customers and colleagues, becoming part of the system he was fighting earlier. What’s striking here is that we never get to see the big bosses, the film focusing on subordinates who obey orders and perform tasks they don’t always agree with. From HR to the supermarket manager, everybody follow orders to survive, even if it’s at the expense of others. The sequences featuring people caught stealing are particularly remarkable as, from an old man to a youngster, they are more humans in need than criminals.

Well-balanced and impartial Stéphane Brizé’s movie brushes an intelligent portrait of millions of French people who, despite minimum resources, tries to live a simple, unpretentious life. The one thing we found regrettable here is about Thierry’s son, a handicapped boy who also has to fight for his right to study. Far from supporting the movie’s premise which is strong enough, it adds too much pathos and looks like overwriting flaw. Other than that, The Measure of a Man is probably one of the strongest works we’ve seen in recent years, when it comes to exploring these social, professional themes.

Director: Stéphane Brizé – Actors: Vincent Lindon, Yves Ory – Running Time: 1:37  – Year: 2015 – Country: France
Click here to watch the Measure of a Man trailer
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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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