A group of academics at the University of Montreal - most long time friends - are planning on gathering at the lakeside recreational home of Rémy and Louise, who have been together for twenty years, married for fifteen of them, for dinner. Louise knows Rémy cheats on her, but believes he only does so when she is not around, about which she accepts. Their recreational home is adjacent to many of the recreational homes of the others, who are: divorced Pierre, his much younger current girlfriend Danielle who is a student at the university, the two who are still in the stage of newfound love, divorced mother Diane, independent minded Dominique, single homosexual Claude, and graduate student Alain. While the four men prepare the dinner, the four women are working out together in the gym. The common factor between the two groups is the topic of conversation: sex, especially as it relates to themselves. But underlying each of the conversations is their own academic and thus intellectual ...Written by
For many years, this movie ranked in my all time top ten. Over time, my affection for it has dropped, but I still value it greatly. It is a wordy movie about sexual politics of all kinds and human relationships. I have always felt that most of the characters in this film feel a need to justify relationships that they should not be in.
The story is simple - a group of men prepare dinner for a group of women who are at a club working out. While in separate locations, they are free to talk about their sexual appetites, exploits and conquests. The female conversations are particularly funny. Eventually, the women arrive and dinner commences, an unexpected guest shows up and eventually, secrets are revealed.
Decline of the American Empire is Denys Arcand's best film, and at the time, the best ever to come out of Canada. (That crown now firmly belongs to Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter). It seems a little dated today, but if you can handle subtitles, and if you like movies with lots of dialogue about sex and human relationships, it is a worthy rental. ***1/2 out of ****.
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