Meg, a teacher, and husband Nick, a philosophy lecturer who may just be about to get the push on the eve of retirement, spend a week-end in Paris to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary. He is staid, annoying his foul-mouthed wife who wants to turn the holiday into a series of exciting new experiences, booking into a hotel that stretches their budgets and running off from a restaurant without paying. She is also averse to his touching her and what was meant to be a belated second honeymoon is a depressing affair, full of arguments - including one about the son who has recently left home to live in squalor and whom Meg does not want to return. By chance they meet an old university friend of Nick, Morgan, an American high-flyer who invites them to a party where Meg can still turn men's heads and Nick has a conversation with Morgan's young son, leading him to believe that he is not as badly off as he had presumed. Ultimately there appears to be hope for the marriage. Written by
don @ minifie-1
Usually when movies use Paris as a romantic backdrop, it's a young couple who gets to occupy the foreground. Not so with "Le Week-End," a tale of two aging tourists - he a professor of philosophy, she a teacher - who've chosen to "celebrate" their 30th anniversary in (where else? ) the City of Lights.
Like many couples who have been together for a long time, Nick and Meg Burroughs often seem to have more things that are driving them apart than bringing them together. Not only have they grown tired of each other's all-too-predictable habits and quirks, but Meg, in particular, feels that now, with the kids grown and gone, it may be time for the two of them to move on and to spend what little time they have left getting to know themselves as individuals rather than as a couple.
Because the screenplay by Hanif Kureishi is clearly focused on an older couple, the film captures the paradox that exists at the core of lasting romantic love: that the very same predictable patterns and dull routines that, over time, work to deaden love are also what enhance intimacy and bind us inexorably to one another over the long haul.
Though Meg and Nick are still clearly sexual beings, even that fact has caused some tension and division between them, namely in an affair Nick had awhile back and for which he is perpetually atoning. Yet, the script is smart enough to know that what is said in the heat of the moment is not always indicative of what is in the heart.
Much of the second half of the film takes place at a posh and pretentious dinner party thrown by an old college buddy of Nick's, an American author and intellectual played by Jeff Goldblum.
Director Roger Michell keeps the tone serious and intimate without becoming heavy-handed or preachy. He allows the characters to reveal their depth through conversation and the way they interact with the world and each other. He is aided immeasurably by the skilled and incisive performances of Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, who make us truly believe that they are a couple who have grown both comfortable and complacent with one another over time. Above all, "Le Week-End" acknowledges that relationships are tricky and complex things and come with no pat or easy instructions to make them easier to navigate our way through.
After "Le Week-End," it may not be necessary for Richard Linklater to make another "Before " movie, after all. I think Kureishi and Michell might have done it already.
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