Time Out (L' Emploi du temps)

Critics Consensus

A haunting psychological drama, Time Out takes a penetrating look at the angst of the modern worker.



Total Count: 84


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,956
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Movie Info

French director Laurent Cantet's sophomore effort is a somber and complex meditation on work -- specifically, how work has become the defining feature of the contemporary individual as well as the quintessential symbol of quotidian despair. The movie tells the story of Vincent (Aurelien Recoing), a middle-class family man recently fired from his drab, middle-management job. Unable to tell his family about his firing, Vincent spends his workdays driving around the French countryside --"business trips" he tells his wife -- keeping intact the reassuring routine of going to work and coming home to his wife and kids. As his family grows suspicious of his evasive behavior, Vincent is forced to spin a new tale, pretending to get a job working for the U.N. In a bid to keep the money coming in, he recruits old friends to invest in an imaginary emerging-markets investment scheme. Vincent also falls in with Jean-Michel (Serge Livrozet), a black market dealer whose ignominious past serves as an ominous warning for Vincent's present course. Despite his efforts to maintain an undisturbed surface, Vincent's wife begins to suspect something amiss. As the lies pile up and the questions from his family mount, Vincent loses control of his fragile double life, leading to a poignant conclusion. Cantet's film premiered at the 2001 Venice Film Festival.


Critic Reviews for Time Out (L' Emploi du temps)

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (81) | Rotten (3)

  • Time Out is stylish and hushed, at once suspenseful and melancholy. It can't be neatly fitted into a genre, just as its hero--played with devastating understatement by Recoing--can't be easily dismissed as a psycho or a villain.

    Nov 1, 2007 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Time Out is as serious as a pink slip. And more than that, it's an observant, unfussily poetic meditation about identity and alienation.

    Aug 2, 2002 | Rating: 4/5
  • The drama discloses almost nothing.

    May 10, 2002
  • What a modern horror story!

    May 10, 2002
  • Human Resources was a good, straightforward tale, but Time Out is better. It's haunting. It's like a poem.

    May 10, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Moody, reflective and acutely noticing, Time Out is less a drama than a cinematic essay about one man's experience in an era defined for professional and laborer by downsizing.

    May 10, 2002 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Time Out (L' Emploi du temps)

  • Nov 23, 2012
    A great French drama. Why do they have it listed as a documentary here? This thing isn't a damn documentary. Aurelien Recoing is fantastic as the man who seeks to hide the truth from his family as a matter of pride.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 15, 2012
    The first hour of "Time Out" is the most involving portion of the film; after that, it settles into a pretty basic formula that's predictable yet still intriguing. Laurent Cantent's moody direction mixed with documentary-style camerawork and Aurelien Recoing's quiet, captivating central performance make watching the film a hauntingly effective experience. When it's all said and done, "Time Out" doesn't seem to have much of a point to it and the ending isn't as satisfying as I would have hoped for, but it's quite possibly one of the best dramatic pieces this side of the year 2000.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2011
    A beautiful, haunting piece of social realism, concerning an unemployed father who lies to his family about his new job, as well as to close friends who he tricks into giving their money for a made-up investment plan. While admittedly slow-paced and definitely not for all tastes, director Laurent Cantet never, for one second, drifts into melodrama like some dramas with subject matter like this sometimes do. With the exception of the pace of the film, this thing is nearly perfect, with a riveting last twenty minutes that contain a powerful, unexpected conclusion that you won't see coming. If anything, this deserves to be seen due to the current state of the economy, as it does its best to humanize any potential monsters, since in the end you do care about Vincent, even if he does do some horrendous things throughout the movie.
    Dan S Super Reviewer

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