For Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy fans who can’t wait another seven years for the next installment of the Before Sunrise series, Le Week-End comes just in time. In a way, the Music Box movie sort of picks up decades after Before Midnight since it follows a couple hellbent on breathing life into their marriage via a Parisian getaway.
Facing their 30th anniversary with the unbearable longing for the lightness of being, Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) find themselves at a crossroads in life. Consequently the success of the trip carries make-or-break stakes for their marriage as Nick tries to bond with his wife and she tries to form her own independence. Matters are intensified when the two run into an American colleague (Jeff Goldblum) who seems to possess all the success and romance they lack.
Like the film’s married couple, the filmmaking team of director Roger Michell and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi have spent years together—collaborating on Venus (2006), The Mother (2003) and the television series The Buddha of Suburbia (1993).
With Le Week-End, Michell and Kureishi are able to relay the heavy side of marriage in an artfully light way. For every cringingly candid moment and uncomfortable silence, there are repeated signs of humor and hope thanks to the three leads who are at the top of their game. Unfortunately, the story lacks a proper climax so the film becomes much like the characters it represents: sincere, smart and in need of a way out.
Le Week-End opens today at Renaissance Place Cinema in Highland Park, and is currently showing at Landmarks’s Century Centre Cinema in Chicago and Cinearts 6 in Evanston.