With a title like The Measure of a Man, French writer-director Stéphane Brizé sets up the audience to consider a summary judgement. What makes a man in the moral sense? It’s a challenging set up for a reductive conclusion. That the film works as well as it does is a combination of Brizé’s cinematic technique and a beautiful yet inconspicuous performance by Vincent Lindon, who won the best actor prize at Cannes after the film’s world premiere last year. Utilizing spare film craft, including handheld camera and minimal editing, Brizé encourages an objective perspective on the man in question, Thierry Taugourdeau (Lindon), a 51-year-old unemployed machinist and father struggling to survive on a diminishing dole while trying to support his wife and disabled son (played respectively by non-actors Karine de Mirbeck and Matthieu Schaller).

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