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 (email@example.com)
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.
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