Nothing to Hide challenges the notion that cell phones are the last realm of privacy between couples in an entertaining and thoughtful dramedy.
Seven friends reunite for a dinner party when psychiatrist Marie (Bérénice Bejo) gets the idea make everyone’s cell phone an open book. In the running for worst party game ever, the friends reluctantly agree to participate. Any text, email or phone call is on public display.
As you’d imagine everyone’s got a secret they’d rather keep hidden. In some cases, it’s fairly harmless while others are juggling complicated issues with parents, children and affairs. While the secrets are expected, the reveals manage to be highly effective thanks to well-timed fake-outs and humorous encounters.
Charlotte (Suzanne Clément) and Marco (Roschdy Zem) are in the sleepwalking phase of their marriage with no passion on either side. That’s the opposite of newlyweds Lea (Doria Tillier) and Thomas (Vincent Elbaz) who can’t keep their hands off each other.
Ben (Gregory Gadebois) has long since been the group’s unofficial doormat and announces his new girlfriend is home sick. As the night plays on it’s increasingly understandable why Ben would prefer his girl miss this shindig.
Naturally as the film progresses the innocent little white lies and secrets make way for the bigger twists. Feelings get hurt and emotions are high, but no one agrees to end the game. Considering the various levels of guilt, it’s a little surprising that no one bothers trying to wrap the game once the bombshells start getting revealed.
Director/screenwriter Fred Cavayé takes the unusual approach of adapting a very recent film, Perfetti sconosciuti, from 2016. There’s not a lot Cavayé can really do to switch up the formula making for a bold choice to basically just present it to a new audience.
Despite the largely one room setting, the cast does a magnificent job of never making the film feel claustrophobic. There’s never that sense that the setting is too restrictive thanks to the terrace and kitchen allowing for side conversations.
In the shift over to Netflix, the film gets an erratic English dub. While mostly solid, there are moments where the English track doesn’t always sync up perfectly causing some distracting sequences.
Clément is really good as the gang’s boozy wildcard who never goes too long without taking a sip. Zem plays off her well as the near hypochondriac constantly complaining about everything. Stéphane De Groodt is also solid as Marie’s plastic surgeon husband who is arguably the film’s protagonist.
I’m not sure if I liked the film’s somewhat noncommittal conclusion. Essentially we get two endings here. The first is far messier and complicated, but seems to put the characters on a better, more liberated path.
On the surface, the second ending leaves things intact even as we now know this tight-knit friend unit could unravel at any time. It’s a little too pat giving a choose your own ending considering one provides a definitive conclusion while the other simply hints at the inevitable.
Nothing to Hide benefits from a strong, engaging cast and an interesting premise to merit watching even with its wishy-washy ending.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix