Le Week-End Screen 13 articles

Le Week-End

2013

Le Week-End Poster
  • There’s nothing much wrong with Le Week-End other than just how boringly safe it all feels; these actors can play these roles in their sleep, and the threat of marital wreckage, however movingly realized in spots, is merely a path to cutesy reassurance.

  • That the film both concerns and embodies tourism needn’t be fatal, and there’s enough self-awareness afoot, particularly in Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan’s lived-in performances. Less forgivable is the film’s whole-hog embrace of bourgeois boomer melancholia, which smothers everything—characters, action, the city itself—like a heavy hotel-room duvet.

  • Broadbent and especially Duncan—playing a character who may no longer be attracted to her husband, yet is still wavering enough to convince him he has a chance—go a long way toward making the movie seem pricklier and more embittered than it turns out to be. But the end ofLe Week-End reveals it to be the thoroughly ordinary melodrama a description suggests—a portrait of former ’60s fire-starters who are perfectly happy to settle for embers.

  • Screenwriter Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy And Rosie Get Laid) sometimes overdoes the emotional-seesaw routine... But director Roger Michell (who’s previously worked with Kureishi on The Mother, Venus, and the miniseries The Buddha Of Suburbia) maintains a slightly jagged rhythm that proves disarming, and he has two magnificent collaborators in Broadbent and Duncan, who make Nick and Meg ornery and sometimes abrasive without crossing the line into caricature.

  • ...This once-significant dramatist [Hanif Kureishi] seems to have run out of meaningful things to say. The central characters—two married sixtysomething professors trying to reignite their romance on a weekend trip to Paris—voice familiar baby boomer gripes about post-60s disillusionment and even more familiar gripes about aging. That's not necessarily a bad thing, except that Kureishi raises these stock concerns only to retreat into sentimentality and self-congratulation.

  • The third feature film collaboration by writer Hanif Kureishi and director Roger Michell, Le Week-End works well precisely because this apparently heartwarming love story is tempered by sour gripes, aches and bitterness... The writing is sharp, the city looks undeniably beautiful and Goldblum is a canapé- munching comedic dream. But the central drive of the film seems to be best summed-up with a quote from Moyra Davey’s The Wet and the Dry: “Paris of the mind is preferable to the real thing.

  • Both keenly calculated and flowing with offbeat, naturalistic detail, Kureishi's jewel of a script reflects his sensibilities as a playwright, and like Before Midnight, Le Week-End often unfolds like filmic theater, with potential contrivances of language being transcended by its honesty and the ace actors tasked to relay it.

  • Wisely, director Roger Michell (Notting Hill) and writer Hanif Kureishi (Sammy and Rosie Get Laid) don’t force these two immensely talented performers into artificial plot devices. And so, the film turns into something darker, as the fissures between the obliging yet droll academic husband and the clinical, frustrated wife reveal themselves gradually, organically.

  • Broadbent and Duncan are an ideal fit for Kureishi's bitterly funny, yet surprisingly tender script... The couple's mood swings from shared memories, moments that only the two of them can find funny and enjoy, to vitriolic outbursts that rehash old grievances and regrets. And that their discord is played out against the backdrop of the always gorgeous City of Light, everyone's idea of the most romantic city in the world, of course, makes these scenes all the more poignant.

  • Michell steers these star turns with grace and tact, stepping back to let key exchanges play out without interference, then moving the pace up a gear to maintain the momentum. Le Week-end is a small film in some ways – its ambitions are all in the fineness of the grain rather than the scope of the horizon – but it’s a warm and satisfying one. And it proves again that films made for grown-ups can be more nimble-footed and fresh-faced than anything aimed at the youth market.

  • Nick and Meg are fucked indeed, as are we all sooner or later, but the wit and acuity of Le Week-End is that it enables us to acknowledge the fact through articulate, if somewhat self-deceiving, characters who express their dilemma with some style. Kureishi's craft lies in not making these characters too lovable, or even tolerable. In real life, they'd bore you rigid; on screen they become, in all their disgruntlement, quite mesmerizing.

  • Memories of the old-timers’ former idealism swim to the forefront... yet the film thrums with a couple’s creative survival in the now. And as if two towering performances weren’t enough, along comes the mighty rambler Jeff Goldblum to shake things up, as a bumped-into colleague whose obsequious flattery (and swank book party hosted by a pregnant second wife) proves cold comfort. Edward Albee would know these people—and there’s not a piece of smashed china in sight.

  • The third and best of a superlative triptych that began with The Mother in 2003 and continued with Venusin 2006, Le Week-End also focuses on a personal reckoning that arises from growing old.

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