"It is in the thirties we want friends," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote. "In the forties, we know that they can't save us any more than love did." This beautifully orchestrated French film directed by Olivier Assayas provides a thought-provoking and engaging meditation upon this truth.

Gabriel Deshays (Mathieu Amalric) has great respect for his friend Adrien Willer (Francois Cluzet), the author of four novels. He persuades him to participate in a documentary on his work. Adrien is secretly dating a 16-year-old girl. He has told no one, including Gabriel.

Their friendship begins to crack when Adrien is hospitalized and undergoes a serious operation. Gabriel doesn't handle it very well and the only one who's really there for Adrien is Jenny (Jeanne Balibar), Gabriel's ex-girlfriend. Although she still feels connected with him, Gabriel has begun a new affair with Anne (Virginie Ledoyen), a self-destructive young woman who has a knack for deflating a relationship once she gets serious about a man.

Late August, Early September vividly conveys the sometimes fleeting quality of friendship and love. In one of the most telling scenes in the film, Gabriel, who has gotten a respectable job editing a literary section of an encyclopedia, offers Adrien an assignment. The novelist, with only the faintest touch of tact, turns him down. They don't get a chance to patch things up before Adrien's sudden death. When one of his colleagues praises Adrien's posthumously published book, Gabriel disagrees calling it the work of a "minor writer." This subtle and superbly acted French film reveals the terrible fragility of male friendship and the ways in which it often disappoints those who invest it with burdens it cannot bear.