Le Week-End - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
ROGER Michell’s Le Week-End joins an increasing body of films that are geared towards older viewers (including Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Quartet) but which can still resonate with open-minded younger audiences.
It also marks the director’s third collaboration with writer Hanif Kureishi, after The Mother and Venus.
Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play long-time married elderly couple Nick and Meg as they head to Paris for an anniversary weekend only to find their relationship at a crossroads. Over the course of a weekend in which they revisit old haunts and discuss their past and future, they also bump into one of Nick’s old friends, Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), who invites them to a party.
Michell’s film occasionally plays like a pensioners take on Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Midnight films by virtue of the way it spends most of its time in the company of two characters and relies on the power of conversation. It’s less charming than those films because of the up and down nature of the central relationship. But it’s not without merit.
Broadbent and Duncan are consistently good value even if their characters do tend to annoy, while Goldblum is his usual wonderfully charismatic self (and gives the film a needed shot in the arm during its later stages).
Kureishi’s script also contains some astute observations about relationships and how love evolves over time as much as because of the way people change as how circumstance places trials and tribulations in the way (children, money, change).
Better yet, the film doesn’t pretend to offer easy answers and ends on a note that is both ambiguous and strangely uplifting, while also throwing in a film buff nod to Godard’s Bande à Part.
In that regard, it’s a mature and thought-provoking film that may well have you smiling one moment and facing impending tragedy the next. And while the journey won’t be to every taste – particularly if you like your rom-coms to follow set patterns – this is equally capable of satisfying the more discerning viewer, young and old alike.
Running time: 93mins
UK Release Date: October 11, 2013