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The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

Le déclin de l'empire américain (original title)
Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Évelyn Regimbald ...
Theresa
Lisette Guertin
Alexandre Remy ...
Transvestite
Ariane Frédérique
Jean-Paul Bongo ...
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Storyline

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 Huggo

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Plot Keywords:

sex | dinner | university | gym | weekend | See All (70) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

14 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Decline of the American Empire  »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,854, 16 November 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,902,706
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Last Wedding (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Music themes
by George Frideric Handel.
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User Reviews

 
Witty and Entertaining
10 December 2003 | by See all my reviews

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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