An older couple on a second honeymoon in Paris examine the state of their marriage in "Le Week-End," which is now playing at the 51st New York Film Festival. NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.
Veteran stage and screen actors Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan team up in a new film peppered with light laughs and some dramatic turns. It's called "Le Week-End."
It's Nick and Meg's 30th wedding anniversary, and we can see that their marriage is a bit weather-worn. Over the years, a lot of the spark has gone out of their relationship, but like many couples, they plod along anyway. However, there's no doubt that they still have genuine affection for one another underneath it all.
Trying to ignite better times during a Parisian weekend, we get to know a bit about this couple. They're both academics, and it seems that Meg is the one who presently has the upper hand in their relationship. As Nick tries to drum up some romance and physical closeness, Meg views his overtures as more of a burden.
The couple visits several Parisian restaurants, as well as some familiar sights, and along the way, they engage in a bit of fighting, predominately initiated by Meg, as well as some conciliatory gestures, mainly coming from Nick.
Halfway through, Nick runs into a former colleague who's now living in Paris, played by Jeff Goldblum. He invites them to his house for a dinner party, and it's at this soiree that truths are revealed and long-repressed feelings are discussed.
The acting, by both Broadbent as Nick and Duncan as Meg, is superb. They dive into the material headfirst and seem to be having a grand time with these characters. The screenplay by Hanif Kureishi is realistic in its depiction of an older couple at perhaps a crossroads in their marriage. Many will find that it rings true, but that doesn't mean that it's stimulating entertainment. It's low-key, and the overall result is often quite dull.
Director Roger Michell, thankfully, lets the performers do their thing, but this very grown-up picture often lags, and sadly, fails to make us care that much about the fate of these characters.
Le Week-End is currently playing at The New York Film Festival.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: Two apples