Le Weekend has received very good reviews. It is designed for an older audience, probably those who enjoyed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Quartet. While it is put forward as a comedy, there is an edge to the film.
Trying to find a word that would describe its sharpness and its pleasantness, the result would probably be ‘bittersweet’. And, with the British background, ‘bitter’ wins out many times.
The film has a literary background. The screenplay was written by Hanif Kennaishi, novelist and screenwriter whose films include My Beautiful Launderette and The Buddha of Suburbia. He is working again with the director of The Buddha of Suburbia, Roger Michel, well known for such films as Notting Hill.
Nick and his wife have been married for 30 years. He lectures in philosophy at a university college but has been fired because of inappropriate remarks to a foreign student. They have a son who sponges on them. A lot of the spark seems to have gone out of the marriage. They decide to rekindle their love by going back to Paris for a weekend.
The film is effective through the performances of Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as the couple.
Because the action of the film takes place over two days, we have a great number of ups and downs in the relationship, affection one moment, irritation the next, the desire to walk out, tender moments of reconciliation. To that extent, the screenplay seems to be rather contrived, trying to put as many episodes in the running time as possible. Which means that the relationships and the tensions move too quickly as to be entirely credible.
This is a film which middle aged and older couples may well identify with, reflecting on their lives, on their marriage, high points and low points and the possibilities for failure or continuing success.
- Peter Malone, ACOFB
Starring Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum. Rated MA (Coarse language, sexual references, drug use). Directed by Roger Michel. 96 minutes.