Tell No One

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Tell No One
UK release poster
Directed byGuillaume Canet
Screenplay by
Based onTell No One
by Harlan Coben
Produced by
CinematographyChristophe Offenstein
Edited byHervé de Luze
Music byMatthieu Chedid
Distributed byEuropaCorp Distribution
Release date
  • 1 November 2006 (2006-11-01) (France)
Running time
131 minutes [1]
Budget$13.5 million [2]
Box office$33.4 million[3]

Tell No One (French: Ne le dis à personne) is a 2006 French thriller film directed by Guillaume Canet and based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Harlan Coben. Written by Canet and Philippe Lefebvre and starring François Cluzet, the film won four categories at the 2007 César Awards in France: Best Director (Guillaume Canet), Best Actor (François Cluzet), Best Editing and Best Music Written for a Film.


Dr. Alexandre Beck has been slowly putting his life back together since his wife, Margot, was apparently murdered by a serial killer using wild attack animals eight years before. However, Alex finds himself implicated in a double homicide – even though he knows nothing of the crimes. The same day, he receives an email that appears to be from Margot, which includes a link to surveillance footage that shows his wife looking alive and well; the message warns Alex that they are both being watched. As Alex struggles to stay one step ahead of the law, henchmen intimidate his acquaintances into telling them whatever they might know about him, eventually killing a friend named Charlotte. In the meantime, Alex's lesbian sister Anne persuades her well-off partner Hélène to hire a respected attorney, Élisabeth Feldman, to handle his case.

Margot attempts to arrange a meeting with Alex by sending him an email that he must read in an internet café to avoid being spied on. Before this meeting can take place, a warrant is issued for Alex's arrest for Charlotte's murder. Alex goes on the run whilst his friends and lawyers struggle to find out the truth about the murder and Margot's reappearance. As he is being pursued by police, Alex is rescued by Bruno, a gangster from a rough part of the city who feels he owes Alex a favor. The mysterious henchmen reappear to prevent Alex's meeting with his wife, but he is rescued once again by Bruno. Margot is seen almost escaping on a flight to Buenos Aires. Élizabeth proves that Alex has an alibi for Charlotte's murder thanks to eyewitness accounts at the internet café.

Alex notes the numerous mysteries about his wife's death – mysterious photos of her covered in bruises and traces of heroin in her body. He soon discovers that Margot's father Jacques Laurentin faked her death: she had discovered that Philippe Neuville, the young son of a local aristocrat and governor Gilbert Neuville, was a pedophile rapist whose activities were covered up with help from the police; when she confronted him, Philippe beat her, causing the bruises. Jacques explains that he walked in on the beating and shot Philippe. Gilbert Neuville hired thugs to kill Margot in a phone call. Having tapped the phone call, Jacques doubled the payout for one of the thugs in order to get him to fake her murder instead, kill the other thug and knocking out Alex in the process. After shooting the second thug and burying both, Jacques used the body of a dead heroin addict to stand in for Margot. It is also revealed that Gilbert actually hired hitman to kill Charlotte. Furthermore, Jacques also reveals that Alex's father used to work as horse ranch manager for Gilbert. When he witnessed Philippe raped a young girl, he reported to Jacques but Gilbert paid off the police and had him killed. Enraged, Alex shouts at Jacques for keeping the secrets the entire time. Jacques apologizes and gives Alex a document contains all the evidences of Gilbert's crimes.

Police, listening in on the father's confession, attempt to arrest him, but he shoots himself dead before they can do so. It is revealed that Jacques knew Alex was wearing a wire, and that during a moment in which he had blocked the bug's transmission, had told Alex one last thing: it was in fact Margot who shot Philippe after he beat her; Jacques was covering up her crime, not his. His actions have ensured that she will never be suspected. Philippe's father is arrested, and Alex and Margot reunite at the lake where they fell in love as children.



The script made several alterations to the book; a torture expert changed from an Asian male to a white female, and the identity of the killer was switched. The book's author was quoted in an interview as saying that the film's ending was better than his original ending.[4]


Tell No One was well received both critically and commercially.

Academy Award-winning British actor Michael Caine said of the film it was the best he had seen in 2007 on the BBC's Film 2007 programme. He also included it among his Top Ten movies of all time in his 2010 autobiography, The Elephant to Hollywood.[citation needed]

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes gives Tell No One a "Certified Fresh" rating of 94% based on reviews from 104 critics.[5] Metacritic give the film 82/100 based on reviews from 30 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[6]

Box office[edit]

The film generated $17 million in ticket sales during its first four weeks at the French box office.[7] In total, the film grossed $22,194,261 in France becoming the 12th highest-grossing film of the year with 3,111,809 tickets sold.[8][9] Music Box Films acquired the rights to the film and gave it a limited theatrical release on July 2, 2008. The film opened in eight theaters grossing $169,707 during its opening weekend.[10] In total, the film grossed $6,177,192 in North America.[11]

Top ten lists[edit]

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.[12]


  1. ^ "Ne le dis à personne: Tell No One (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2007-04-27. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  2. ^ "Ne le dis ? personne (Tell No One)". JPBox-Office. 2006.
  3. ^ "Tell No One (2008)". Box Office Mojo. 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
  4. ^ Saner, Emine (June 18, 2007). "Tell everyone: Interview with Guillaume Canet, director of 'Tell No One'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  5. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. 2 July 2008.
  6. ^ "Metacritic". Metacritic.
  7. ^ "Film4 | Channel 4". Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  8. ^ "2006 France Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo.
  9. ^ "Ne le dis à personne (Tell No One) (2006)". JP’s Box-Office (in French).
  10. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 4-6, 2008". Box Office Mojo.
  11. ^ "Tell No One (2008): Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Metacritic: 2008 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 2, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  13. ^ The Jeff Buckley version of the song Lilac Wine, from his album Grace (1994), was used as background music in the film.

External links[edit]