Saturday movie review: 'Le Week-End'

I had the opportunity this week to screen LE WEEK-END from Roger Michell, the director of NOTTING HILL. 

Le Week-EndLE WEEK-END stars Jim Broadbent as Nick and Lindsay Duncan as Meg, a long-married couple visiting Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Celebrate isn't exactly the right word, though. Nick and Meg continually bicker back and forth, as long-married couples do. They bicker about small things and large things — large being primarily due to Meg's discontent and contemplation of making the Paris anniversary their last anniversary together. She wants to "move on" now that the nest is empty and time is ticking.

Though there are many charming moments in LE WEEK-END, I wouldn't call it a feel-good film. It shines a realistic light on life, and life can be very not feel-good much of the time. Long-term relationships can be hard and cold and lonely; yet they can also be one's safe harbor, full of warmth and, yes, passion.

Nick and Meg know that, beautifully and heartbreakingly express that — occasionally with shocking candor, no filter. They alternate back and forth between celebrating their decades-long connection then damning it, considering to their very core if there's enough to keep them together... or if they have enough to make it on their own.

Nick summed it up in a fabulous line: "You can't not love and hate the same person, usually in the space of five minutes in my experience." That resonated — with me, with my husband and surely with anyone who's been married a reasonable length of time.

Le Week-End

What I most appreciated about LE WEEK-END: The authentic feel of two partners who have raised a family, been through thick and thin together. They clearly love each other, but is that enough to get them through life's second, third, fourth acts? Nick seems pre-occupied and "not all there" at times. Meg can be a harsh, demanding woman at even more times. It felt real. Sometimes too real, in fact. I found myself mentioning to my husband more than once that I sure hope the way Nick and Meg interacted isn't how we are to one another, as we've been married even longer than the thirty years Nick and Meg celebrated.

Jeff Goldblum, Le Week-End

A bright (and humorously loud) addition to LE WEEK-END is the always enjoyable Jeff Goldblum. He plays Morgan, an old friend of Nick's whom Nick and Meg run into on the streets of Paris. An evening at Morgan's Paris residence becomes a pivotal moment for Nick and Meg, their marriage and the movie.

LE WEEK-END (rated R for language and some sexual content) opened in theaters in New York and Los Angeles yesterday (March 14) and will roll out to other cities throughout April.

The film has already earned several awards:

  • Winner - Best Actress (Lindsay Duncan) - British Independent Film Awards

  • Winner - Best Actor (Jim Broadbent) - San Sebastian Film Festival

  • Toronto International Film Festival 2013 - Special Presentation

  • New York Film Festival 2013 - Official Selection

  • Palm Springs Film Festival 2014 - Official Selection

Find out more at the Music Box Films LE WEEK-END web page.

Disclosure: Though I received access to screen this film for free, opinions are my own. Photos courtesy Music Box Films.