Mathias, a penniless fifty-odd-year-old New Yorker, lands in Paris. Both cynical and at the end of his tether, he looks forward to selling the mansion house his late father owned in the Marais district. But what he finds out there just appalls him: his secretive dad had never told him he had acquired the property as a life lease, a typically French custom he never heard of. As a consequence, not only will poor Mathias be unable to sell the house into cash (at least as long as Mathilde stays alive) but he will have to pay the old lady a pension into the bargain...!Written by
First appeared as a play by Israel Horovitz which premiered in 1996 at the Gloucester Stage Co., founded by Horovitz in East Gloucester, MA. See more »
Lefebvre says he bought his boat with a viager and that he was lucky because the owner died six days later. Under French law the seller must live for at least 20 days after the contracts are signed. See more »
If you do not love me I shall not be loved - Samuel Beckett
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Midway through the credits, Mathias reveals his final decision on what he will do with the apartment and why. Additionally, after the end credits Mathias asks LeFebvre where he learned to speak English. See more »
Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) arrives in Paris to claim his inheritance. His father left him a large apartment in the city and not much else. He is thrice divorced, failed writer and penniless. He hopes to sell the apartment quickly and leave. Instead he finds Mathilde Girard (Maggie Smith) living there. His father had actually bought the place as a viager. Mathilde lives in the apartment until her death and gets paid 2400 a month. She allows him to stay which infuriates her daughter Chloé Girard (Kristin Scott Thomas). François Roy needs to buy the apartment to build his hotel.
The problem is that the dangers in this movie isn't that high. It's a self-pity party and at the end of it, he becomes a multi-millionaire. I can certainly see Chloé's point of view but she was always going to be kicked out. I don't see why selling to the hotelier is such an evil act. The whole situation has no real conflict other than one ginned up by the movie.
It's not until the movie gets personal that the real drama begins. The three characters have interesting hidden conflicts. The three actors are acting the hell out of it. However it goes off down an off-putting alley. It's weirdly awkward navel gazing. I can't feel for any of the characters. The movie doesn't have any intensity for me.
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