“Le Week-end” or perhaps “Le Weak-end”- movie review

We chose an early morning session on Saturday because we didn’t fancy battling the crowds who would want to see this latest film about empty nesters.

You see, Melbourne people do not rise early to greet the dawn. Anyway, when the two of us entered the theatre we doubled the audience. So that was a good decision on our part as I’m quite crowd averse.

Sadly, this was the best feature of our visit.

I had declared in previous film reviews that I don’t want to see any more films about aging, but here I was again, hoping that this time there would be some sort of optimistic outlook about this business of getting old.

“Le Week-end” is about a senior couple going to Paris for the weekend to recapture their joie de vivre. He, a professor(played by Jim Broadbent) is sick of work and she (Lindsay Duncan) is fed up with her life and bored with her husband.

The stage is set, as you can guess, for a miserable search for excitement. Is Paris how they remember it? What do you think?

Lousy accommodation, constant quiet bickering, complaints about their useless offspring who is sponging off them and wants to move back home.

Then they meet up with a bright and effusive character who knew the Prof in the old days at university. Other reviewers have admired Jeff Goldblum’s acting and I am usually a fan but this character is so manic that he’s frightening. I suppose he’s the foil for the perennial “misery guts” portrayed by Broadbent. But things are really not that great for Happy Jeff either.

The film plods along with mumbling from Broadbent and a bit of sadism from Duncan until it peters out at the end. It’s a weak ending. Nothing is resolved because it’s so true to life that everyone realises that nothing will change for this couple. It really can’t, can it?

After leaving the theatre and deciding to enjoy a gastronomic treat of chargrilled calamari WITH chips just to make up for the melancholy of “Le Week-end” I thought that it reminded me of “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf” with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Minus the passion.

And, in a way, that lack of passion was even more nihilistic.


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