Married early thirty-somethings Joanna and Mark Wallace are making the three day drive from their home in London to St. Tropez for the unveiling of the lavish house Mark, a successful architect, designed for his wealthy clients, Maurice and Francoise Dalbret. Joanna and Mark are at a rough stage of their relationship, much of their conversation along the way centered on the possibility of divorce to end the farce they now consider their marriage. The macro ups and downs of their marriage are presented in previous road trips they took together in France, with each trip having its own micro ups and downs. The first was twelve years earlier when they met, he backpacking through the country, she traveling to a music festival with her all-girl singing group, with they ending up together purely by circumstance instead of Mark hooking up with Joanna's colleague, Jackie. The second was an impromptu trip which was supposed to be throughout the continent with Mark's ex-girlfriend, the former ...Written by
The poem recited to Caroline in the car, "The bumble-bee, the bumble-bee / He flew away from the tulip tree..." is from 'Tommy's First Speaker for Little Boys and Girls' by Thomas W. Handford, published in 1886. See more »
When Mark and Joanna are riding away in the concrete pipe, you can clearly see that the truck carrying them has a large set of wheels as the furthest back portion of the truck, which would make it difficult for them to just jump out. But when they cut to the scene where they are jumping out, the large set of wheels is gone. See more »
[referring to a pair of newlyweds seated in the back of a Rolls Royce]
They don't look very happy.
Why should they? They just got married.
See more »
Audrey Hepburn is just Audrey Hepburn, the great Albert Finney was returning to films at that time known the world over as the star of 'Tom Jones'.
Finney hadn't done a film for two years (since the weird and disappointing Night Must Fall); it seemed that he was waiting for a script good enough to lure him away from the theatre where his heart really lay.
So we've got Hepburn, a great charismatic star; Finney, a great actor; the assumption of a good script and on top of that, the two had an affair during the making of the film and people have often talked about the chemistry between the two of them.
Many romantic films are spoiled by a lack of chemistry between the stars, however Bogart and Bacall had a chemistry mirroring their off-screen affair that became legendary. The Hepburn-Finney 'magic' has been talked of in the same vein.
So before watching this film I felt there were four strong reasons to expect good things from it.
I was disappointed on all counts.
Hepburn is too old for the role; Finney, not a romantic lead, is miscast.
Despite rumours that for Hepburn their affair was much more than just a fling, there is absolutely no chemistry at all between her and Albert Finney.
However, the film's biggest flaw is the God-awful, smart arse, gimmicky script that is so dated it's untrue.
This was obviously made at a time when unimaginative dialogue where one character offers a slight variation on what the other character has just said was clearly seen as sharp and witty.
Finney (on seeing a miserable couple): That's marriage for you.
Hepburn: That's marriage for them.
Finney: That's marriage full stop.
In a word,... terrible.
There are many other examples.
The supporting characters irritate as well.
Sure, the Maxwell-Manchester's are meant to be an annoying couple but my God, that was blatantly obvious from the moment they appeared so there was no need to give them so much screen time. This ensured that not only were Finney and Hepburn driven crazy by them but the entire audience were as well.
I hoped the Maxwell-Manchester's would be involved in a horrific car accident at some point in the film, alas it never happened.
Also, there are inevitable problems in trying to make a film where the principal characters age from their late teens to their early 30s. At some point someone is either going to look far too young or far too old.
The fact that Hepburn is too old to play early 30s let alone a youthful teenager further exacerbates this problem.
Finney is a very talented actor but he sometimes chooses roles outside his range. He was great in 'Tom Jones' oozing charisma and marvellous in 'The Dresser' where he should have won the Oscar.
But he was staggeringly bad as Poirot in 'Murder on the Orient Express'. Many will disagree with this but I felt he was pretty average in 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning', the film that first brought him acclaim.
He went from talking twice as loud as he needed to in 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning', to speaking twice as slow as he needed to here.
He often reminded me of the way someone tries to talk when waking up from a deep sleep or when someone visits an old, partially deaf relative in a nursing home, lingering slowly over every word to make sure it registers.
This film is pretty bad it has to be said, a bad story not worth filming and a poor screenplay that prevents it from ever being remotely interesting.
The music was pretty good though...
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