by Geoffrey Churchman

The original French title seems more apt than the translation that distributors have given the subtitled version of this movie, although an unlikely developing camaraderie between two guys is central to the screenplay.

Tired of the rat-race? Then escape to the country for a relaxed simple lifestyle amid natural beauty is the strong theme — and what better than the mountains of the Auvergne-Rhone Alpes region of France? At the outset an entrepreneur stands beside a classic Triumph sports car on a steep road with the hood up. The owner waves at a passing motorbiker for help and gets taken to a mountain abode of basic construction but amid scenery you dream of — alpine meadows, brooks, conifer forests and high mountain peaks all around. It’s off-grid, but has pretty much everything you need to make life happy, regardless.

Despite his assistance, the mountain dweller is gruff and of few words. It turns out that the high flyer isn’t there by chance. Neither is the mountain man quite who he appears and the two have more economic interest in common than it seems at first. It’s hard to elaborate on that without spoilers. but it’s a bit more than guy-guy animus+amity and there is a woman with a daughter nearby, and another paramour.

Unsurprisingly, the aspect which both Eva and I most enjoyed is the scenery, having made a point of touring the mountain areas of southern France in different trips between 2000 and 2012. It’s a great effective tourist promo for the region and one we want to watch again. Well recommended.

Les Chose Simples/A Great Friend (95 minutes) is screening at the Shoreline.