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 »
I'm still thinking of Mathias, Mathilde, and Chloé
Wow. Though my childhood upbringing does not mirror that of the characters in this movie, I come from a toxic childhood. The pain and dysfunction of these characters resonated with me in a profound way. Narcissistic parents can abuse their children and all those around them without overt verbal abuse and without ever laying a hand on them, and sometimes, that type of abuse can inflict the worst kind of lasting trauma and psychological damage. Living under the burden of your parents' sins can be a crushing lifelong weight. While they live their life exactly as they see fit every single day of their lives with no regard for the consequences or the fallout for those around them, when they have children, it's their children that pay the highest price for their parents' sins of constantly seeking and receiving instant gratification. Instant gratification is something that many parents will steer their children away from after the age of 2 or 3-years-old in favor of more thoughtful, considerate, long-term rewards. However, children of narcissists are denied gratification growing up, as their parents claim it all for themselves, and the pied piper must be paid. Ironically, the trauma is compounded by the fact that narcissists absolutely believe themselves to be the best and most loving parents any child could have, giving themselves God-like status, who can do no wrong in their own minds. When someone gets hurt, they will say that it was meant to be, and they will tell any lie necessary to fit that narrative. Children want and need most of all to be loved, cherished, and valued. Children of narcissists grow up without having those basic needs met. Instead, they become useful tools, and they're "lucky" if they also become attractive possessions to their parents. The flip side of that is that if they are not their parent's tool or an attractive possession, then they are of no value to their parent. I found Kevin Kline's Mathias authentic and believable. His pain was palpable. Maggie Smith did an excellent job, as well. I thought her brave to play Mathilde Girard, as Mrs. Girard is not likable. Kirsten Scott Thomas' performance was very good, too, once you discover the personal damage she's concealed. This is a quiet film. The story unfolds slowly, which was exactly how I needed to see it play out. I felt like I was eavesdropping, like I was lurking and seeing and hearing what was not for me to know just as Mathias and Chloé lived under the burden of their parents' lies, and through no fault and no choice of their own, had become a very part of the front designed to disguise the lies for an entire lifetime. If all of this seems completely foreign to your experience, you may completely despise this movie. This may be a trigger for some. Or maybe, you'll begin to discover that the burden you carry was bestowed upon you by those, who should have loved and sheltered you the most. Without your consent, those sins are not really your burden. The lies are not your truth. Maybe your perspective will be changed however slight. The discovery of a common thread can lead to an epiphany if only a small one. The three lead characters carried this well all the way to its satisfying end. Watch, and if you feel that your soul was damaged long ago by means beyond your control, take this short journey with Mathias, Mathilde, and Chloé, and hopefully, find a bit of solace in the truth.
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