As indicated by the name, The Measure Of A Man is a fascinating insight into the world of a man struggling to make ends meet. It is one of the best microcosms of recent years and its thanks is largely due to the solid performance by its lead Vincent Lindon.
Without giving too much away, the film picks quickly after our lead character Thierry Taugourdeau who has lost his job and is trying to find new work. We watch his journey through these efforts, as he feels the pressure and responsibility of providing for his wife and disabled son. This leads him into interesting predicaments and encounters and by observing his attitudes to those around him, we get a clearer picture of what makes this man who he is.
This is all the more interesting because of Vincent Lindon’s fantastic performance. In particular, through his use of tone and facial expressions, which truly brings life to his character. Altogether this makes him not only a very interesting man to observe but also one that is incredibly rooted in realism. You believe every action but also reaction that he is having; and even if you’ve never been in any of the same situations, you can completely understand where he is coming from and chances are you might do the same. Which leads me into the brilliant ways the script is written and directed by Stéphane Brizé.
Stéphane Brizé, often allows each situation to be held with extensive takes, refusing to cut for long periods of time. By doing so, we can view the characters react in real time, which adds to the realism of the story. It also provides the chance for the characters to find their rhythm within their scene and pace their emotions. This perfectly sets the stage for Vincent Lindon’s fantastic performance but also the supporting actors around him.
Certain details of the plot are also used in a way that completely compliments the overall theme of the film. The timeline of events that beset the lead follow in a nice pace and contribute to the breakdown of his character. The narrative devices used are subtle but perfectly placed examples, that work to grow the breadth of this microcosm created. Every situation he is placed in is a joy to watch and it is never boring.
At only 90 minutes long, The Measure Of a Man is a fine piece of drama that never overstays its welcome. The only real qualms I have with it is with certain shots that I feel could have worked better if they were at other angles. Specifically, long takes that were a bit too far from the main figure, especially when they are on a side angle to the camera. This makes it difficult for you to be engaged with whatever they are doing in that moment. But nevertheless, aside from the minor issues, the film is an enjoyable experience.
As mentioned, whilst you might never be in the same situations as its lead, this never subtracts from the feeling of relatability. You become engrossed and sympathetic with his predicament from the get go and this never falters throughout. The Measure Of A Man is a well-written character driven drama that ultimately deserves your watch.