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"WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY"
(2000) (Laurent Lucas, Sergi Lopez) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Moderate Extreme *Moderate Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Moderate Mild Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Subtitled Suspense/Thriller: A man and his family try to deal with a former classmate of his who's decided to ingratiate himself into their lives at any cost.
PLOT:
Michel Pepe (LAURENT LUCAS) is a 34-year-old teacher who's traveling with his wife, Claire (MATHILDE SEIGNER), and their three young daughters, Jeanne (VICTORIE DE KOSTER), Sarah (LAURIE CAMINITA) and Iris (LORENA CAMINITA), to see his parents (DOMINIQUE ROZAN & LILIANE ROVERE) in the French countryside.

It's a hot day, however, and the girls are cranky, thus resulting in Michel deciding to stop at a rest stop before turning back to the summer home they're slowly renovating. At the stop, Michel runs into Harry Ballestero (SERGI LOPEZ), a former classmate of his that he can't recall, but who seems to remember a great deal about him.

Although Harry's planning to take his girlfriend, Plum (SOPHIE GUILLEMIN), to Switzerland to see the Matterhorn, he decides to invite themselves back to Michel's place for a drink. Once there, and with it being late, Michel and Claire invite their new "friends" to spend the night, an occurrence that couldn't please Harry any more.

It seems that Harry, who inherited a great deal of money from his father, was always fond of Michel, even going to the point of memorizing the poems he wrote in school and of which Claire was not even aware. Michel and Claire find Harry's behavior a bit odd, especially when he offers to help them financially and then buys them a new truck to replace their broken down car.

Even so, they don't want to be rude and thus find Harry and Plum becoming increasingly ingrained in their daily lives. Yet, Harry's friendly ways and his need to fix any problems that Michel may have soon turns into a troubling fanaticism with dangerous results. As Harry decides to deal with Michel's family, including his brother, Eric (MICHEL FAU), and get the teacher to return to writing, the family discovers that there's a fine line between friendliness and obsession.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who like Hitchcock style thrillers probably will, as might anyone who's a fan of someone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, some violence and a scene of nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • LAURENT LUCAS plays a confident, 34-year-old teacher who's married with three kids, the latter of whom often push his buttons to the breaking point. Simply trying to live his life, he must deal with minor quibbles with Claire, bigger ones with his parents, and then the obsessed friendship of Harry who suddenly arrives in his life wanting to fix everything for him. He also uses strong profanity.
  • MATHILDE SEIGNER plays his exhausted wife who must put up with him, the kids and Harry's intrusion into their lives.
  • SERGI LOPEZ plays a former classmate of Michel's who's been and still is obsessed with Michel. At first, he seems just like an overbearing and rich friend, but he eventually turns psychotic and kills several people. He also uses strong profanity and has sex with Plum.
  • SOPHIE GUILLEMIN plays Harry's voluptuous and seemingly somewhat dimwitted girlfriend (with whom he has sex).
  • DOMINIQUE ROZAN & LILIANE ROVERE play Michel's parents who bicker like an old married couple (which is what they are).
  • MICHEL FAU plays Michel's brother who uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this subtitled thriller that's been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 8 uses of the "f" word, along with other expletives and colorful phrases. Some of the dialogue is sexually related (with some of it briefly being explicit), and an unmarried couple apparently has sex several times (we see them afterwards on one occasion where we see both of their bare rear ends). Some young girls are also seen nude in a bathtub.

    Violence consists of three onscreen murders (one via a knife in the gut, the other victims have their car run off a road and into a ravine), while two others take place off-screen (although we briefly see the bloody results). Such scenes (and much of the second half of the film in general) may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers, especially as the movie takes on a Hitchcock-style aura.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, and some tense family moments are present. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone in your family, we suggest that you take a closer look at our individual content listings for more detailed examples of what's present and occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Harry invites himself and Plum over to Michel's for a drink. Later, Harry raises a toast of liquor (while Michel, Claire and Plum hold glasses of presumably the same), but we never see any of them drink.
  • We see what looks like beer on a table in front of Michel, Claire and Plum.
  • Harry shows up at Michel's place carrying a case of champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see two bodies in a morgue, but beyond being dead (and covered with sheets up to the neck), they're not bloody or gory.
  • We see a dead body (wide-eyed with blood on the head) in the trunk of a car. We later see that same body being dragged out into the woods for burial.
  • We see blood on the back of a dead person's head as well as on a pillowcase. Moments later, we see a person dragging that body out of the room with a plastic bag over the dead person's head, and then being dropped into a well.
  • A person stabs another person in the gut, delivering a somewhat bloody, but decidedly lethal blow (we don't see the penetration, but do see the knife slowly being pulled out). We then see that body being dumped into a well.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Harry invites himself and Plum over to Michel's for a drink.
  • Michel's parents snipe at each other, with him referring to her as an "old hag."
  • It turns out that Harry's friendship with Michel isn't so benign and he becomes an overbearing presence in his life. He also steals a delivery vehicle from a hotel, and later ends up responsible for killing several people.
  • After Harry tells Michel that Claire and the kids are slowing him down and should be cut loose, Michel says that Plum is a "pea-brained cow" who's stunting Harry's mental growth. Harry then repeats that to Plum in front of everyone else.
  • Michel finds himself attracted to Plum and briefly kisses her, but then thinks better of that and stops.
  • A person kills another person who was planning to kill others, and then keeps that as a secret.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Different viewers will have different opinions of how scary or suspenseful the material is, but scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may also be tense or unsettling to some viewers, and as the story progresses and we figure out what's really going on, the film's tension level slowly creeps upward in intensity.
  • A man purposefully rams his vehicle into the back of a car, trying to run it off the narrow, twisty road at night. He eventually succeeds, sending the car careening off the road and down a ravine where it crashes and tumbles (killing the two occupants, although we don't see them in the car).
  • Michel has a nightmare where he sees a monkey flying through the air with a helicopter type mechanism on its head (based on a short story he wrote years earlier). The way in which it approaches him, along with the way the rest of the overall scene is presented (accompanied by related music), might be a bit unnerving to some viewers.
  • As Eric makes fun of Michel's school poem and Harry's obviously getting madder about that by the minute, we begin to worry about what might happen to Eric, especially after Harry stops his car in the middle of the road.
  • Harry drives down the road like a madman, screaming at the top of his lungs.
  • Michel finds Harry scrounging through his house, looking for a plastic bag. He then follows Harry with that bag as the man heads toward a person's room (and he and we fear the worst).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Knife: Quickly used to stab a person to death with just one jab in the gut.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases (French, in English subtitles): "What the f*ck are they doing?" "F*cked" (nonsexual), "It's f*cking hilarious," "Bullsh*t," "Take a leak" (urinate), "Stupid idiots," "Shut up," "Hornier" (sexual), "Moron," "Old hag," "Bastard(s)," "You're talking crap," "You're life is crap" and "Pea-brained cow."
  • One of the kids repeatedly kicks the back of the driver's seat in a car.
  • Harry drives like a madman/speed demon down the road at night.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of old-fashioned sounding, ominous and suspenseful music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • In French, with English subtitles: At least 8 "f" words (1 used sexually), 2 "s" words, 1 slang term each using male and female genitals ("d*ck" and "c*nt"), 2 craps, 2 hells, 1 damn and 1 use each of "God" and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Harry tells a joke/story about a man whose wife left him, but had a dog. He states that the person said that at least the "bitch" (dog) would obey his command of "bed."
  • Harry tells Michel that he dated his former girlfriend back in school and that the girl told Harry that Michel was the first to give her an orgasm. He then adds that she was the only girl he dated who was "hornier" than him and that she wore him out. He then says that he and Plum are perfect bedmates.
  • Claire substitutes the word "d*ck" for another in a line from Michel's poem, and then asks Michel if he made his earlier girlfriend "come" and he replies, "Absolutely."
  • Harry states that eating a raw egg yolk after having an orgasm does wonders for one's virility (and since we see him getting two eggs, it's implied that he had Plum just had sex).
  • Plum shows some cleavage in several outfits in several scenes.
  • We see Harry and Plum in their hotel room (possibly after having sex). He's sitting on the floor (we see his bare chest) and she's lying on the bed nude (front down and with her head toward the camera). Thus, we see the top of her bare butt as she gives him a back massage (and he eats a raw egg), and when Harry stands up, we see several brief views of his bare butt. We also see part of the side of Plum's bare breast as she moves around (non-sexually) on the bed.
  • Harry states that he felt so liberated and energized after his father died that he "f*cked like a rabbit."
  • We see Plum shaving her legs and thus see a great deal of them (including upper thighs) with her wearing just a towel.
  • A classic statue shows a bare breast.
  • We see some of the young girl's bare butts (and one's full frontal nudity) as they stand and move around while taking a bath (all of the girls are preadolescents).
  • Michel stares at a bunch of eggs in the refrigerator, seemingly contemplating Harry's earlier comments about them and sex. The way in which the eggs are shot - in close-up - is seemingly supposed to evoke the thought of seeing a woman's breasts and cleavage, and Michel then later goes and watches Plum sleep, but nothing else happens.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • With one of their kids crying, another kicking the back of the seat and everyone being hot and cranky, there's some tension among Michel's family as they drive to their summer home. Various later events then additional tension between Michel and Claire and they get snippy at one another.
  • Michel parents make sniping remarks at each other (in an old married couple type of way), and it's apparent that the relationship between them and Michel and Claire is somewhat strained as well.
  • Various family members deal with two deaths in their family, and there's a brief funeral service.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Friends and/or strangers who become overbearing and obsessed with one particular person.
  • People who take the "easy" way out of resolving problems (spending money or becoming violent, such as murdering others to get such problems out of the way).
  • VIOLENCE
  • A man purposefully rams his vehicle into the back of a car, trying to run it off the narrow, twisty road at night. He eventually succeeds, sending the car careening off the road and down a ravine where it crashes and tumbles (killing the two occupants, although we don't see them in the car).
  • We see a dead body (wide-eyed with blood on the head) in the trunk of a car (thus indicating that a person killed that person).
  • Harry smashes another person's cell phone to stop it from ringing.
  • We see blood on the back of a dead person's head as well as on a pillowcase (indicating that someone murdered that person).
  • A person stabs another person in the gut, delivering a somewhat bloody, but decidedly lethal blow.



  • Reviewed April 20, 2001 / Posted April 27, 2001

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