The Measure of a Man

(La Loi du marché)
(France, 2015, 93 mins, DCP)
Canadian Premiere
CAST Vincent Lindon, Karine de Mirbeck, Matthieu Schaller, Yves Ory, Xavier Mathieu
PROD Christophe Rossignon, Philip Boëffard
SCR Stéphane Brizé, Olivier Gorce
CAM Éric Dumont
ED Anne Klotz
PROD DES Valérie Saradjian
PROD CO Nord-Ouest Films
Awards: Best Actor (Lindon), Cannes 15


Sometimes the lightest touch has the greatest impact. That is certainly the case in this deft, clean and very moving drama. The zero-sum game that is the "law of the market" (the French title)—wherein if one wants a job another must be let go—lies at the heart of Stéphane Brizé’s profoundly humanist and exceedingly timely film. Without blame or rancour it makes plain the often humiliating and soul-destroying choices foisted upon ordinary people just trying to make a living in today’s economic climate. Vincent Lindon is superb as Thierry, a mechanic who’s been unemployed for over a year and who has endured dashed hopes and constant rejection in his search for work. When he finally lands a job in security at a big-box supermarket, he is forced into situations where he must make decisions that go against everything he believes in…

"A companion piece to the Dardenne brothers’ recent Two Days, One Night in its strong sense of labor and justice in an often unjust economy, Brizé’s sixth feature film… is [a] low-key but powerfully affecting social drama… [The director] draws a lead performance from frequent collaborator Vincent Lindon that is a veritable master class in understated humanism… Taking a page from the Dardennes, Brizé has also surrounded Lindon with an entire cast of non-professional performers playing lightly dramatized versions of themselves—a strategy that, to its great credit, will go unnoticed by most viewers, the venerable French leading man blending effortlessly into his surroundings…"—Scott Foundas, Variety

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