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| 13 February 2014 | Reply

Directed by Roger Michell
Starring Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum
Reviewed by Trulie Pinnegar

Le Week-End movie poster

Described as a film about a British couple who return to Paris many years after their honeymoon in an attempt to rejuvenate their marriage, Le Week-End could be mistaken as a light hearted rom-com. But it is not to be…

In the opening scenes, Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) appear to be a couple who are like a pair of old, comfortable slippers. Yet we soon see that their love for each other is matched by their hatred for each other.

He worries about money and she is frivolous with it. He is generous with their children, she thinks he mollycoddles them. He tenderly asks for sex at regular intervals but is denied outright answering his question “can I touch you?” with “why?”. She has what is tantamount to a tantrum when the hotel he has booked them into is not what she wanted and forces him to book into a luxury suite in upper class Paris, despite his reservations and despite their lack of financial capacity. That’s love for you… or is it?

We learn more about their differences and dislikes. We see how they bicker like siblings and then play like siblings. Their tumultuous behavior continues, with adventures such as leaving restaurants without paying bringing them closer together, then fights about who is choosing lunch tearing them apart again.

This may be typical for a relationship that is entering it’s thirtieth year, but viewers are left wondering how anyone could live with such complexity and toxicity in their lives every day.

On their travels, Nick happens across an old friend from University. Morgan (Jeff Goldblum) is all that Nick is not – rich, successful, happy in his second marriage. Meg is charmed. Morgan invites them to his apartment the next night.

As they get ready, when Nick is shunned again by Meg, his upset leads him to accuse her of having had an affair some years ago. She is outraged and the evening progresses dramatically as a result.

At dinner, Morgan makes a speech – it transpires that Nick was Morgan’s idol at college. He praises his talent and wisdom and credits him for becoming the man he is now. Nick’s response is unexpected – he gives an honest account of how his life has turned out, including the problems between him and Meg.

What may appear to be the end of them is far from it. It is the turning point of them. They leave in each other’s arms and viewers realise that the moral of the story is that it can take the cold hard face of truth to realise what you really want in life.

Famous for films such as Notting Hill and Morning Glory, Director Roger Michell has told a story using very stark photography – close up shots of the lead characters leave viewers in no doubt of the emotions playing out in their heads. This is broken up by a sprinkling of some fantastic shots of Paris’ most famous landmarks.

So Le Week-end is not so much of a feel good movie, more of a feel relieved movie. Not every marriage needs to end in divorce – sometimes realising that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side is the glue we need to fix what is precious.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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