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Midlife in Paris

Le Week-end (2013)

Nicola Dove/Music Box Films

Director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi’s fourth collaboration, “Le Week-end” continues their exploration of the desires of the olds following “The Mother” and “Venus.” Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan star respectively as Nick and Meg Burrows, who are visiting Paris for the first time since their honeymoon three decades earlier. They exude a certain upper-middle-class façade of intellect and affluence that is instantly recognizable: You’ve seen these archetypes out and about on the Upper West Side, strutting from cabs outside the Lincoln Center on their way to attend important cultural events. The film’s American premiere at the New York Film Festival comes as a shocker to no one.

“Le Week-end” does suggest the discrepancy between stereotype and reality, and that the Burrowses are merely keeping up appearances. They recklessly live it up in Paris as if they’re in some Woody Allen movie (“Midnight in Paris,” peut-être?) and then quickly come to the realization that this is beyond their means financially, emotionally and socially, and that the pursuit of this lifestyle has no bearing on actual fulfillment and self-realization.

Despite the Parisian locales, “Le Week-end” often feels like a play because of the chamber drama and the small cast. While the Godard homage does achieve its intended whimsy, it also reeks of theatrics. Although the film is profound and moving indeed, one does wonder how a viewer of a certain age might respond to it. Everyone can relate to unreached potential, missed opportunities and unfulfilled aspirations, but the Burrowses’ dilemma of whether to cling to or let go of what little they do actually have in life is perhaps something this reviewer can’t appreciate fully at this time. One ends up wondering if this is just a particularly art-house rendition of the same old midlife crisis.


Opens on Oct. 11 in Britain and on March 14, 2014 in Manhattan.

Directed by Roger Michell; written by Hanif Kureishi; director of photography, Nathalie Durand; edited by Kristina Hetherington; music by Jeremy Sams; production design by Emmanuelle Duplay; costumes by Natalie Ward; produced by Kevin Loader; released by Curzon Film World (Britain) and Music Box Films (United States). Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes. This film is rated 15 by B.B.F.C. and R by M.P.A.A.

WITH: Jim Broadbent (Nick Burrows), Lindsay Duncan (Meg Burrows), Jeff Goldblum (Morgan), Olly Alexander (Michael) and Judith Davis (Eve).


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