It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"My Best Friend" tells the story of Francois, a man who has no friends at all. Who tells him that? All of his friends, at his birthday party. Once they get started on the subject, they bluntly confess they don't like him. No, not even his business partner. Don't like him, and never have. Francois is stunned; obviously he never really knew what friendship was. He confused it with acquaintanceship, maybe, or partnership, or people he spent a lot of time with.
Francois is played by the sad-eyed Daniel Auteuil, one of the most familiar faces in French films (recently he starred in "Caché," that intriguing film about the man who received anonymous videos of himself and his family). As an actor, he is so flexible he can move from playing the sad-sack antiques dealer in this movie to playing Napoleon in the next film he made.
Here he is a man so alone and lonely that when he finds he has no friends, he is compelled at an auction to pay a small fortune he can't afford for a Greek vase whose owner commissioned it in memory of his best friend, "and filled it with my tears." I am reminded of Daniel Curley's novel A Stone Man, Yes, with a title inspired by a man eternally chasing his love around a Greek vase; good enough for a stone man, yes, but not for one of flesh and blood.
Francois' partner, Catherine (Julie Gayet), doubts Francois' claims that he does indeed have a best friend. Appalled by how much he has put their company in debt, she makes him a bet. Unless he can produce a true and convincing best friend in 10 days, he will have to give her the vase. Fair enough. But the search goes badly; his best friend at school, tracked down after many years, turns out always to have hated him.