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The Measure of a Man 

Wednesday, Jun 1 2016
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Dignity is an elusive state, and few things are more undignified than being out of work. But even that can be eclipsed by the indignities suffered when actively looking for work, particularly by those who have committed the unpardonable sin of aging. Stéphane Brizé's observational drama The Measure of a Man considers all these states as sad-sack 50-something Thierry (Vincent Lindon) gets his emotional teeth kicked during every step of a job search as he struggles to keep his family afloat. Thierry is something of a less embittered (and cancer-free) Walter White, complete with the dead-caterpillar moustache and a special-needs son — although Thierry's own dalliance with criminality comes from a different direction when, halfway through the movie, he lands a job working security for a brightly lit big-box store. (Also, it's notable that nobody speaking to Thierry sugarcoats anything — if the French didn't already have a reputation for rudeness, this film might start one.) Brizé's picture isn't as much of a study of masculinity as its domestic release title The Measure of a Man would suggest; the original French title, La Loi du Marché, translates as The Law of the Market, which is far more appropriate on multiple levels, particularly as this Valjean who never had to steal bread struggles with becoming a Javert.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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