During Le Week-end, Jim Broadbent’s character remarks that if you truly love someone, then you like and hate something about them every five minutes. This insightful piece of homespun wisdom basically sums up this romantic comedy for elders.
Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) have decided to spend the weekend in Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. The City of Romance is where they spent their honeymoon. But nothing stays the same in life (the adorable little hotel of yesteryear seems smaller and not so adorable today) or in marriage: romance is fast overtaken by reality; families, games, niggling, secrets and acceptance.
Director Roger Michell and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi have created a very character-driven movie that concentrates heavily on the two lead roles and makes one relate to Nick and Meg immediately from the opening scene.
But it is Broadbent and Duncan who make this film the joy that it is. They seem to bring the best out of one another and are totally believable as a thirty year old married couple. As consummate an actor as Broadbent is, he has never been better; Duncan bounces brilliantly off his steadiness, whilst still managing to make the film almost her own.
As an old student of Nick’s, Jeff Goldblum makes a most welcomed return to film. He is the perfect catalyst to the leads.
Reminiscent of Woody Allen movies of the Eighties with its intellectual humour, and displaying beautiful understatement so nicely prevalent in English movies nowadays, Le Week-end is absolutely wonderful – up to a point! The point is the disappointing ending – without giving anything away, it is unsatisfying (for the audience and the characters), unrealistic and utterly ridiculous.
If it ended ten or so minutes earlier, Le Week-end would be a perfect trip to Paris and the cinema.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Rating out of 10: 9