Available for rental from Amazon Instant to Netflix on Jul. 8, 2014, “Le Week-end” is a British romance set in Paris starring two wonderful, accomplished actors. Oscar-nominated writer Hanif Kureishi is known for his unusual, dramatic love stories, such as “My Beautiful Laundrette,” “Venus,” and “The Mother,” and he often works with director Roger Michell; their partnership smoothly transfers a clear vision to film, but their style is an acquired taste. They do not create romantic comedies, though the trailer for “Le Week-end” teases that it might be. Instead, “Le Week-end” tells the gray secrets and hidden grudges of thirty years of marriage.
Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent) are celebrating thirty years of marriage by returning to Paris and finally having time to themselves. Now that their children have moved out, Nick and Meg must decide if they can continue their lives together or if it’s the perfect time to separate to follow their separate interests. As they face trivial challenges and unearthed grievances, the couple acknowledges that neither is living the life they had imagined; Meg wants more passion and indulgence while Nick is feeling like a failure, especially after running into a former colleague (Jeff Goldblum) who has reached a much higher level of success.
Their trip intended to rekindle the romance instead exposes their relationship for what it really is: both a level of comfort from acclimation and mean-spirited frustrations. Bitterness and resentment are palpable in “Le Week-end,” creating a very private though natural story reminiscent of Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” series. Jeff Goldblum cuts some of the harsh drama with his usual quirk and charm, stealing the attention in his limited number of scenes.
Somewhere between the melancholy of “Blue Valentine” and the fluidity of Linklater’s “Before Midnight,” “Le Week-end” shares the gritty, stale underbelly of overripe relationships but still manages to emphasize the warm connection of souls over time. It is a sincere romance but certainly not quite an enjoyable film.
Rating for “Le Week-end:” B
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.