My Old Lady (2014) Poster


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Poignant and funny
suzie-1626 September 2014
The whole film is shot in Paris and many of the scenes are simply drippingly gorgeous. It is a very charming movie, with some heavy undertones and one I will watch again. There's a good message in it. Loved Dominique Pinon as the real estate agent. Kristin Scott Thomas is so good, mixing up mean and nasty with tenderness and self-awareness. Maggie is a stitch and just superb! Kevin excellently portrays a man who is down and out, carrying around emotional baggage. Stéphane Freiss always seems to play a neurotic Frenchman, but he does frenzied well. Many times I laughed out loud in this movie! I've studied French my whole life, but learned a new word in this movie: viager. I am surprised critics have come down so hard on it. But, I am almost as old as Kevin Kline, I adore Paris, I love movies where you can laugh and still be brought to tears and ones that have a good message.
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Delightful surprise
rogersfa2 January 2015
Went to see this today based on the trailer, from which I thought it was a comedy. It is funny, but also serious and engaging. Liked it much more than I thought I would and would definitely recommend it. At the end I realized that I would want to watch it again to see the themes of relationship as I then understood them with hindsight. The three principal actors are all excellent in their roles and in their relationships with each other. It felt honest and not pretentious or 'preachy', but definitely deep and engaging.

No one ends up the hero in this film, but that is often how real life often turns out.
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Beautiful film of a delightful story ideal for an older audience.
glasslens3 December 2014
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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I'm still thinking of Mathias, Mathilde, and Chloé
senses-851-8573246 April 2015
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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Slow throughout but worth a watch
Figgy66-915-59847025 November 2014
25 November 2014 Fiona's Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - My Old Lady. I thought this was going to be a comedy, but in reality the best mildly funny scenes were all included in the trailer. Having said that, this was a very touching film about relationships and dysfunctional families and a very strange set of French Laws. In a nutshell, Mathias Gold, played by Kevin Kline, inherits an apartment in France from his late father. Spending his last dime to travel to Paris he discovers to his dismay that the apartment comes with a tenant Mathilde Girard (Maggie Smith) who is allowed to stay there until her death, and to compound things he has to pay rent to her. Determined to find a way to sell the apartment and make some money Mathias tries everything he can to achieve his goal. As the story progresses we meet Chloe who is Mathilde's daughter and has issues of her own. Although slow in places this charming film winds it's way through the streets of Paris much as the seine flows past Notre Dame and once again having watched a film set in France I find myself wanting to go and visit once again.
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A pleasant surprise
york-ravel21 November 2014
My husband and I love Paris, Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith; so a film with all three was a must on our viewing list. However, we came across some pretty bad reviews and wondered whether we should see it at all. The cinema was a small one and, as we decided to go to the early afternoon show, it wasn't very crowded. We were delighted to find the three leading actors lived up to their usual high standard; the story line worked for us right to the end; and the views of Paris as well as the interior of the apartment managed to capture the mood very well. From finding it really quite amusing at first, the film took a rather darker turn two thirds of the way in; but we felt that the way it was handled sent out a very real and necessary message. I presume it could be classed as a black comedy...but this should not put you off from seeing it, and one does not leave feeling it was a waste of time or money!
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self-pity party
SnoopyStyle31 October 2015
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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Gentle drama with some stunning performances
raspberry-blower13 December 2014
The plot is unusual to a point and interesting. The main characters are flawless and there are some auxiliary ones that are also quite memorable. I thoroughly enjoyed the tad sentimental and contrived story, the relatively quick build up set the scene quickly, and after that the layers got peeled away revealing new story lines, making the entire film very enjoyable for the whole of its duration. However, this website forces one to make the review last more than ten lines of text which is ridiculous. If there is nothing more to say, it is surely better to keep it short and sweet than to carry on churning words for the sake of it. IMDb should urgently consider changing this silly rule.
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dmmhtsa27 January 2015
Were it not for the fact that I had already read reviews, I would have been shocked by this movie, because it was not, in fact, a comedy. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It is neither light nor heavy, but rather the perfect balance.

It addressed the fact that there is no 'following your heart' or doing whatever feels right to you, without affecting other people. Mostly, there will be negative consequences/effects, but when you and the people around you open yourselves to truth, no matter how difficult, healing comes and eventually, a positive effect. I highly recommend this movie.
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Paris already enough for me
mmunier15 November 2014
I used to be a "Parisian" well really only by birth; but I carry a lot of love about France and Paris. I also have a lot of feelings for Maggy Smith that has been rather omnipresent recently in cinemas. As for Kevin kline I always kept a vivid and enjoyable memory from "A fish call wanda". So I was rather comfortable in giving a go to "My old Lady" although I did not particularly like the tittle. I was not disappointed even if I felt a little boredom in the first half. And if one likes film for entertainment, in my view these should entertain as it entertained me. I did not feel like analysing the whole work too much as this is not why I watch films. For me it's important to leave the cinema with a rewarding feeling, whether I find the film intelligent, funny, or well paced as long it brings me something I feel worthwhile I'm happy. So I got a free trip back to Paris, laughters, and also something to think about! Four of us on the occasion had a good time!
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Not worth your time
fregger4 December 2014
My Old Lady is one of these movies that no one watches, and for good reasons. Forced to watch, I discovered a genre I didn't know of. The movie is basically filmed stage theater in 3 or 4 locations. The Paris shots are postcard-cheesy. There is no cinematography whatsoever, and the only reasons why you are sometimes reminded you're not watching a telenovela are the gratuitous heavy-handed movie references (Taxi Driver and The Godfather, mind you). The acting is forced and cramped, except for the old lady. The story alternates between comedy and dark-serious, but it is impossible to have empathy for the characters who suffer with the great pain of inheriting a 12-million dollar apartment. French people can't speak English, they are a bit dumb, lol. Otherwise, racial stereotyping all the way - the garbage guy is black, the doctor's Jewish, the thief's a Roma. There a few comedic moments that will make you smile; any average comedy should do the trick better.
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Enchanting, Brilliant!
fkemble-9621611 December 2016
I found this movie on Netflix where it was awarded 2 1/2 stars out of five which is half a star less than the fireplace with crackling logs!!!! I tend to go for films that have low scores based on the premise that high scoring movies on netflix are usually utter drivel ( who grades them!) whereas low scoring foreign films are usually pretty good. This movie is a work of genius in every respect: I loved the story, the cinematography and the location; Paris is my favourite city. I especially loved the acting and the choice of actors. Maggie Smith is just a marvel but we all know that! Kevin Kline is without any doubt the best American actor on the circuit and he was perfect for the part. Kristen Scott- Thomas is such a powerful character actress who completely stole my heart in The English Patient and I would marry her tomorrow if she'd have me though my wife might have some grounds for objection. This is more of a play than a movie but I stand by my vote and it is the best movie I have watched in years.
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A turkey
nicholsonji28 February 2015
Sadly, this film is a turkey, which even Maggie Smith hasn't been able to save, which is saying something.

The storyline is good, the scenery gorgeous, but the script, the score and Kevin Kline let it down completely.

It is the cheesiest portrayal of Paris I have ever seen, smothered with cliché accordion music throughout.

Kevin Kline, who I loved in "A fish called Wanda" is miscast here. His acting of an emotionally damaged person is ruined by his hamming up and his apposite humour.

Kristin Scott Thomas does her best, which does well, but her character is not totally believable.

Maggie Smith is great, as usual, although I don't think she is a credible French woman (far too English).

Best avoided, unless you are in a need of a filler.
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Clumsy comedrama
estreet-eva6 October 2014
More serious than the previews promise, Downton Abbey fans hoping for a wise-cracking Maggie Smith will be somewhat but not wholly satisfied as it is revealed level by level that her character is pretty much the bad guy of the piece. Not that Kevin Kline's alcoholic mess of a failed writer character is much better but we kind of know from the jump he's something of a sleazy ne're-do-well. Kirstin Scott Thomas, still brilliant in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" rounds out the, potentially incestuous, love triangle. The chemistry between she and Kline wouldn't light a cigarette and the script, clever at times, suffers for it. Kline isn't much of a foil for Smith either, his underlying decency isn't far enough off Smith's characters wholesome good- naturedness to be consistently interesting. The unfurling of the story of lots of adultery and betrayal is interesting, just not well told. The Hollywood ending, predictable from the get-go feels a little pre- ordained. In short, go see "Four Weddings" again instead.
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At first it's superficial, and then, quite unexpectedly, very dark
richard-178717 October 2014
If you have an interest in really great singers - Caruso, Gigli, McCormack, Tauber, etc. - you know that a really great singer can make you believe even a piece of fluff is good music - until you hear it sung later by just an average singer.

I was reminded of that near the end of this movie, when Kevin Kline sings the duet Là, ci darem la mano from Don Giovanni with a woman he sees along the banks of the Seine River. The three leads in this movie are all first-rate actors, and they give fine performances again here.

But this script is a mess.

The first half is throw-away fluff, vaguely cute but very weak. You can guess that there must have been something between the elderly French woman who lives in the apartment (Smith) and Kline's father, and so you wait for that to be revealed.

But with it, out of the blue, comes all this anger on the part of the two children, Kline and Thomas. "Where did this come from?" you ask. Were we given any inkling this was in the works? And then the anger subsides and the movie is over.

I saw in the final credits that this started as a stage play. I wonder if the play was any better? The first half of this script goes nowhere. And then, when it suddenly gets dramatic, we're not prepared for it.

I give it three points out of ten, one for each of the fine actors who make dross look like gold while they perform the lines - but it remains dross nonetheless.
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Truly awful
recline6912 May 2015
It's not often that I'm this scathing on a movie, but this is everything that's wrong with independent cinema at the moment. I watched this with a friend over the weekend and it was truly the most boring movie I've ever seen. So full of itself and utterly pointless. It's all false intellectualism and trumped up melodrama. The acting was excellent, it's just a pity they had to deliver such cliché and ridiculous dialogue. I don't know who the writer or director is, but hopefully they think twice before committing tripe like this to film again. Avoid at all costs. It's not even worth watching for free. Don't waste your time.
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A very miserable but also very boring film
MovieIQTest19 January 2015
I really don't know how to describe this film, because it looked so miserable since the first scene appeared on the screen. then most of the time, the scenes were shot in the dark rooms of the apartment, then the old-fart candidate Kevin Kline with his white beard all around, facing Maggie Smith, the old lady, so old but still so amazingly knows how to delver her dialog and at same time acting so wonderfully, talking about many things of the past that actually got nothing very interesting at all. the Paris foreground and background where the apartment located also looked so miserable and constant overcast with gloomy and dim lightness. The dialog is boring, the acting also boring, all the characters in this miserable film also extremely boring and uninteresting. there's really nothing big deal enough to allow you have the least chance to feel connected and interested. My only question about this film is why people would have invested their money to produce this pointless film? Why we would be interested in watching a loser's journey to Paris where an old apartment became his inheritance after his father's death? Why we have to watch some disenchanted miseries of a miserable story that neither heavy enough nor light enough to make this film really going somewhere? There's nothing really want to tell and nothing really important to allow the audience to absorb or to be interested enough to get connected. This is a film that should never have been produced, just a weird taste like the diet coke that always stays in your mouth, no matter how you drink it, one sip or the whole can.
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Gave up halfway through
rockhurstobrecht30 October 2015
The hero, played by Kevin Kline, appears to be an immature 57 year old obsessed with money. He has inherited an apartment in Paris but can't convert it to cash because an elderly lady, played by Maggie Smith, has a lifetime lease.

Spouse and I agreed that the script was poor and the hero thoroughly unlikable. I was ready to stop watching when he grabbed money from another man's wallet. The clincher was his righteous moralizing to a woman (the old lady's daughter) who was having an affair with a married man.

Was hoping for something with the kind of witty sparkle that Maggie Smith provides in her Downton Abbey role. Instead, just a flat story with little going for it but the beautiful Paris setting.
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What a disappointment. Quite possibly the worst film Smith has association with.
iViewed1 July 2015
An intriguing legal and personal story ruined by extremely unsympathetic acting from the rather arrogant and obnoxious lead male character, Mathias Gold (clumsily played by Kevin Kline). The lead female characters, Mathilde Girad (Maggie Smith) and familial support, Chloé Girard (Kristin Scott Thomas) acted their roles as deftly as permitted. The forced direction, however, felt awkward and unprofessional; starving both Smith and Scott Thomas of oxygen, which, considering they are both far more capable actors than this film allowed, turned the potential colour of this film into a drab. The brut script became tedious as the female protagonists appeared to have had to reign in their performances so as not to jar alongside Kline's unconvincing and lacklustre acting.

I understand the film is based on a play written and directed by the same writer, Israel Horowitz. My sincere hope is that the stage version was not so stiflingly contrived nor that the audiences' expectations disabused.

One just feels with this film that Maggie Smith accepted the role because of the interesting and little known central issue of the films plot, which certainly has much comedic potential (at which she can excel) and emotional complexity (another of her great acting skills). This role, sadly, did not make good use of any of the female acting talent the director had at his disposal. I enjoyed Orton's score (though the song when Mathias sat wallowing in self-pity was crass).

I've not seen a film with Kline in it before and if this is typical of his acting (in)ability, I shan't ever again.
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Not what you expect
lionelrs8 March 2019
I thought this was going to be a gentle comedy. Instead it turned out to be a tale of sadness and redemption. I enjoyed that more.
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Wonderful, funny, poignant, beautiful
jackie-8597727 February 2017
A truly terrific film, with great acting from Kline, Smith and Scott Thomas. It tugs at the heartstrings many times as Kline's character's past is revealed in conversations both sharp and gentle with his new French connections. The three main characters are rounded and deep and sympathetic, even when you know they're wrong. Plus there are some really funny moments and a wonderful ending.
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Could have been better! 4/10
leonblackwood21 March 2015
Review: I quite enjoyed the beginning of this movie because of its unique content but it goes downhill once the main character starts to ask questions about his past. It's about a man who inherits a apartment building in France from his dead father, only to find out that the building comes with a tenant who is contracted to stay in the apartment until she dies. On top of that, he has to pay the tenant rent to stay in the apartment because it truly isn't his until she dies, due to the French law. WEIRD! Anyway, I thought that the movie was going to be about Kline trying to get the lady out of the apartment but it turned out to be about his relationship with his dead father and the tenants daughter. It was quite witty at the beginning and I enjoyed the fresh concept but it lost it's way after a while and Kline just seemed to be walking around in a daze. Maggie Smith gives a top class performance, along with Kline who I'm a big fan off but the storyline seemed to dry up in the second half of the film and the love story took away the unique element at the beginning. There were some emotional scenes from Kline, after he finds out the truth about his father and why he didn't feel love him when he was young but I personally didn't think that the director got the mixture quite right. It was good to see Kline back on the big screen and the chemistry between Maggie Smith and Kline was brilliant but the problem is with the storyline which turns out to be a bit predictable after a while. Average!

Round-Up: I always wondered why I haven't seen Kevin Kline in more movies and after watching the bonus bits on the DVD, I found out that he is known in Hollywood as Kevin Decline due to the amount of movies he has turned down. Some of his choices haven't been that terrific, like the disappointing remake of the Pink Panther and the rom-com Darling Companion but that doesn't take away his great acting skills and his ability to always make me laugh. Personally, I think that is what worked in the beginning of this movie and it was good to see him back on top form alongside Maggie Smith who seems to be going from strength to strength at the age of 80. She was great in the Harry Potter franchise and with some top performances in Downtown Abbey and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, she doesn't look like she is going to be slowing down anytime soon. Basically, the cast and concept wasn't the problem with this movie. It was the bad execution from the director who could have done better with the second half of the movie.

Budget: N/A Worldwide Gross: $9million

I recommend this movie to people who are into their comedy/dramas about a man who inherits a house in France from his dead father, only to find out that it comes with a tenant who can't leave until she is dead. 4/10
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Gossamer thin.
MOscarbradley28 October 2015
The problem with "My Old Lady" is that it suffers from an excess of good taste and a severe dearth of a good plot. Kevin Kline is the down-on-his-luck American who inherits a Paris apartment together with its 92 year old tenant Maggie Smith and her daughter, Kristin Scott Thomas and he has them until Smith dies. Not only that but he must continue to pay Smith 2,400 euros a month. As written and directed by Israel Horovitz from Horovitz's original play, nothing of any consequence happens. The three principal performances are fine but the material is gossamer thin. It's the kind of idea that might have seemed good at the time but which came to nothing. It might have made for a decent 30 minute short but stretched out to feature length it's almost unendurable. Paris looks nice though but even Paris can't save it.
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great stuff
NickSkouras28 October 2014
another great work like " long way down"

a mature teaching moment about sinister stigmas rampant in this world and how crippling some experiences can be especially in formative years

every one of our families have this sort of thing in them including bankers, presidents, coaches, teachers, doctors, billionaires, priests, waitresses and the homeless.

it answers the question of how there can be so much inequity and inequality in this world. the 1% are no different than the rest of us in this way and they make rules and laws, and many of them are desperate indeed and in need. they're just continuing the relentless cycle.

this movie and art like it can but for a moment stop the chatter and business of TV programming and ego driven awareness numbing pursuits and might even penetrate enough to see similarities in someone you may know

or perhaps something in yourself or a family member and muster the courage to begin facing things directly. it may be hard but not doing so is a relentless hardship that continues to cripple generations.

at any rate, its quality work by quality human beings w the real life awareness and experience to pull it off.

there's my soap box. not gonna edit. i'll just let it rip.
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Not much romance, and no drama
davidgee19 December 2014
The last time I saw Paris - you too, most likely - was in Woody Allen's charmingly inventive MIDNIGHT IN Paris (2011). This revisit lacks both charm and invention. Adapted (and directed) by Israel Horovitz from his stage play, MY OLD LADY remains very stolid and theatrical. Dame Maggie is only reason to see this: she has the ability to fully inhabit any character she plays; Mme Girard is a pleasing variant on her Downton dowager. Kristin Scott Thomas and Kevin Kline are two fine actors, but their performances here are somewhat stilted. This romantic comedy has little romance and even less drama. The storyline is painfully predictable. Julian Fellowes would surely have provided a livelier script.

Even Paris is a disappointment. Not only is the apartment dusty and gloomy, but the outdoor scenes - walks beside the scene - are all shot on days when the sky is overcast. If you want to see the City of Light at her most brilliant, take another look at Woody Allen's vision of Paris. Better yet, go there!
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