LE WEEK-END (15, 93 mins) Drama/Romance/Comedy. Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum, Olly Alexander, Brice Beaugier. Director: Roger Michell.
Released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland October 11.
Life begins and also falls apart at 60 in the collaborations of director Roger Michell (Notting Hill) and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette). In 2003, they sensitively explored the spiky issue of romance across the generational divide between grandmother (Anne Reid) and her grown-up daughter’s hunky beau (Daniel Craig) in The Mother.
Laughter and heartbreak walk hand in clammy hand in Michell and Kureishi’s latest confection, Le Week-end, an elegiac portrait of a married couple testing the robustness of their relationship during a celebratory weekend in Paris.
Regret hangs in the air like parfum and amorous advances (“May I touch you?”) are swatted away with a casual indifference (“What for?”) that cuts to the bone.
Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, who played onscreen spouses in the 2006 TV movie Longford, spare themselves and each other few blushes as the husband and wife, who have watched their brood fly the nest and must now contemplate spending their twilight years solely in each other’s company.
“Once the kids have gone, what’s left of us?” wonders Meg (Duncan), who has chosen to celebrate 30 years with husband Nick (Broadbent) by revisiting old haunts in the city of amour.
Festivities start on a sour note when the two-star hotel that Nick has chosen turns out to be a dog-eared vision in beige.
“I knew this trip was going to be a disaster!” snipes Meg.
She takes charge and they move into a plush suite with a balcony view of the Eiffel Tower that is clearly going to test their credit card to its limit.
“They’re French. I’m sure their lives are terrible too,” whispers Nick as they enviously survey a room festooned with well-heeled intelligentsia.
Le Week-end doesn’t indulge in Nick’s habit of rose-tinting the past, which compels Meg to sigh, “You always did edit out the arguments and misery.”
Pacing meanders like Nick and Meg during their sojourn, and the narrative diversion with Goldblum and his neglected son (Olly Alexander) doesn’t ring entirely true. Yet the raw emotional honesty of Broadbent and Duncan shines through.