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 »
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 »
Beautiful film of a delightful story ideal for an older audience.
This is a very simple film and because it is brilliantly cast and directed, the result is excellence. Simplicity is something we rarely see these days yet it is something we crave in these very complex times. There are really only three characters in this film and so the casting was paramount. It pretty much goes without saying that Maggie Smith in the lead role is just perfect - as she always is. By coincidence, I re-watched Grand Marigold Hotel the following evening, and saw her playing a totally different person with a totally different voice. That is a skill that few modern actors can manage well. More of a surprise to me was Kevin Kline. I remember him in manic roles - typecast or that's how he is I do not know, but in this film he gave a beautifully measured and emotional performance with only a few glimmers of the manic! Finally Kristin Scott-Thomas was just excellent as she always is. Rarely does an actress gently age so perfectly, and her performance could not have been faulted for a moment - just superb.
Very well lit and photographed in what appeared to be quite confined spaces and with exteriors of Paris that just glowed with it's honey colour there is a visual treat here. And with very well-recorded sound, the film was a joy to watch. If your taste is for quality, quiet and thoughtful, for a well written screenplay based on an excellent story, with excellent actors, then this is a film you will thoroughly enjoy. It will definitely have more appeal to an over 50 or even over 60 audience - younger people will miss out on the subtleness and pathos and not appreciate this film.
The one thing that I simply could not understand was the title of this film. In London-speak, my old lady means my mother! Too late to change now though!
Enjoying a coffee in the café of the cinema, we got talking to an older couple sitting next to us. The man had come especially to see Kristin Scott-Thomas because his granddaughter had been the nanny to one of Kristin's children in Paris. It is a small world.
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