Movie Review: Le Week-End

By Stephen Rebello

<p>Director Roger Michell's <i>Le Week-End</i> is <i>Before Midnight</i> for the middle-aged set.<br></p>

Director: Roger Michell

Rating: R

Studio: Film4

Stars: Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum

Le Week-End, director Roger Michell and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi’s fourth collaboration after The Mother and Venus, takes a funny, thorny look at late middle age. It’s a rich, personal, complicated movie, a little ragged, too—Before Midnight only with an older couple.

Well-matched Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play a long-married British couple, both teachers, who try to shake off their malaise by celebrating 30 years of marriage with a weekend jaunt to Paris. Lots of things go wrong, starting with a disastrous attempt to return to an old hotel from their past, now bland and tacky. From there, old wounds get reopened, truths get spoken, loyalties get challenged, but it’s all handled with wit, compassion, intelligence and a refreshing lack of self-pity. The gorgeous Duncan is superb, her face a flickering roadmap of fury, regret and burning desire for new experiences and new flesh. Broadbent plays a wounded, occasionally endearing clown and frustrated lover and, as ever, he’s casually brilliant. Jeff Goldblum pops up in the third act and gives his most enjoyable performance in memory as a vain, moneyed, full-of-himself scholar and author, an old Cambridge pal of Broadbent’s currently living with a much-younger, beautiful, pregnant wife.

With its indie film energy and even some welcome unexpected nods to the work of Jean-Luc Godard, Le Week-End is wise, nervy and worth seeing.


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