Sometimes love means never having to say you’re sorry…BUT… sometimes it does. As Roger Michell’s new movie, “Le Week-End” charmingly illustrates, sometimes it’s important for your significant other to know how you feel, even after 30 years of marriage. Perhaps even more important then.
Written by Hanif Kureishi and directed by Michell, “Le Week-End” is the love story of Meg and Nick Burrows (Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent), English 60-something couple, celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary with a week-end in Paris, the site of their honeymoon. Will this be the week-end from hell or something else? Only time will tell.
We first meet the couple on the train to Paris. They seem to have settled comfortably into old, familiar, hurtful habits, each jabbing sarcastically at the other for the duration of the trip. But there is something in Meg’s eyes that says she is tiring of this kind of relationship.
The week-end gets off to a rough start when the former little honeymoon hotel that Nick has booked is not what Meg remembers. She reacts violently to the “the beige, coffin-like room.” Running out, with Nick chasing after her, she hails a cab to look for grander hotels, and they end up at one of the best Parisian hotels in a suite with an unbelievable view of the Eiffel Tower—to hell with the cost. Isn’t that what credit cards are for?
Eating and drinking at the cafes, there are times that the romance seems to have come back into their marriage. It’s obvious that they once loved one another deeply…but time, disappointments, lapses in judgment and even children…all have definitely taken their toll, especially in the intimate part of their relationship. It’s during one especially carefree evening that they run into a former colleague of Nick’s, Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), who’s now living in Paris. That chance meeting proves to have a have major impact on their future.
“Le Week-End’s” two leads are absolutely phenomenal. Is Jim Broadbent ever bad? He should be declared an English national treasure. He is so wonderful in this movie…funny, sheepish, sad…there is just no emotion he can’t portray. Lindsay Duncan is equally terrific in a less charitable role. But somehow she manages to convey that there is a loving person beneath her shrewish exterior. Also quite good in small, but important roles are Goldblum and Olly Alexander as his son, Michael.
Is “Le Week-End” that different from other movies about couples trying to reconnect? Not really. What makes the movie unique is the tone…the joie de vivre with which Michell infuses the film. From the opening scene’s delightful score, “Le Week-End” has the feel of a genial Woody Allen movie. Michell captures the Paris that most of us dream about and despite the ups and downs of Meg’s and Nick’s relationship, gives us a twosome with whom we enjoy spending time and want to succeed.
A cautionary note, Michell’s Paris is so inviting, you’ll want to book your flight as soon as you leave the theatre.