Semi-retired university professor David Winters and his wife and former student Melanie Winters née Lansing live on a hobby farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec with their adult son ... See full summary »
Semi-retired university professor David Winters and his wife and former student Melanie Winters née Lansing live on a hobby farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec with their adult son Benjamin Winters and Benjamin's son, Timothy Winters. Their life is not totally harmonious due to David's chronic infidelity and Melanie's emotional instability, a result in large part of her growing up which she refuses to speak of to Benjamin, who knows nothing of his mother's childhood directly from her. Melanie has been institutionalized many times in her life and is on medication to deal with her mental issues. Melanie's passion in life is to follow many cases of political oppression in the world, this passion again due to her past life. In September 1985, Melanie, through this work, reconnects with Jakob Bronski who she knew during World War II when she was only a teenager when they were both interred at Drancy, a transit station outside of Paris where the government, in cooperation with the Nazis... Written by
Touching, beautifully acted, deliberately paced drama
A group of survivors from a French based concentration camp in WWII gather for a weekend at a country home in Quebec, more than 30 years after the war.
Most critics either praised this to the skies, calling it as powerful as Bergman. or they damned it for being slow, too familiar, sappy and not special. I lean more towards the positive.
First of all this is a wonderful bunch of older actors (Max Von Sydow, Susan Sarandon, Gabriel Byrne, Christopher Plummer) and, as one would expect, they each bring a lot to their roles.
It is also beautifully photographed.
If not quite Bergman, I do buy it as 'Bergman-lite'; the same sense of the confusing complexities of the human heart, and the way earlier damage always comes back to haunt us. Yes it has a few over-the-top moments, and it ultimately didn't pack quite the punch I expected, but I was never bored, despite the deliberate pace, and found each of these lost souls quite compelling.
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