Summer Hours (2008)
"L'heure d'été" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Family  |  5 June 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 5,080 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 48 user | 135 critic | 27 from

Two brothers and a sister witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish the family belongings to ensure their deceased mother's succession.



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7 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Dominique Reymond ...
Valérie Bonneton ...
Isabelle Sadoyan ...
Alice de Lencquesaing ...
Emile Berling ...
Jean-Baptiste Malartre ...
Michel Waldemar
Gilles Arbona ...
Maître Lambert
Le commissaire de police
Marc Voinchet ...
Présentateur radio
Sara Martins ...
Atachée de presse


In a small town, Hélène is a family matriarch who has devoted her life to preserving the legacy of her artist uncle. However, while her eldest son, Frédéric, wants to preserve her home after her passing, she harbors no such illusions as she prepares her legacy. After her death, her children realize what she anticipated as they come to terms with their inheritance's place in their own lives. In the resulting disposition of their mother's assets, treasured heirlooms of a romantic family past drift away even as their changing modern world confronts the value of their memories. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Family


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

5 June 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Summer Hours  »

Box Office


€4,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£58,229 (UK) (18 July 2008)


$1,641,025 (USA) (21 August 2009)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Charles Berling previously starred in Olivier Assayas's film, Demonlover (2002). See more »


When the movie starts, it is said that Helene is 75 years old. The Los Angeles retrospective is also mentioned as an event to happen soon after that first reunion, and given that Helene dies little time after that, we can perfectly assume that she was 76 at most when she passed away. Yet, near the end of the film, a shot of her grave denotes that she was born circa 1912, and that she died in 2007. That would make her around 95 at the time of her death. See more »


Éloïse: He said to choose anything. l couldn't take advantage. l took something ordinary. What would l do with something valuable?
See more »


Remade as Summer Hours See more »


Little Cloud
Written by Mike Heron
Performed by The Incredible String Band
See more »

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User Reviews

22 May 2009 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

I knew nothing of this film when I walked into the theater. It was nothing like I anticipated. "Claire's Knee" perhaps? What unfolds through the wonder of Olivier Assayas construction, direction and camera work was an equivalent to Chekhov for me. As generations and values change, what gets lost and left behind isn't only the contents of a summer house (which is the focus of the film). Values of and connections to the past dwindle in the summer twilight, and there's panic, guilt, mourning, release and the dawn of another generation unwound on the screen.

My one complaint is the length of the beautiful end piece of the film. It introduces a new set of characters to a degree that I was left wanting more. I would have preferred the film ending with the housekeeper rattling the windows to regain entrance, but this is a small complaint to a masterful film, that's beautifully acted and hypnotic to watch.

I overheard someone sitting near me say to the person who had dragged him to the film, "I'll be sleeping through this one." Curious, I looked over two-thirds into the film, and he wasn't asleep; he was spellbound, along with the rest of us.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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