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Le Week-End - Film Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
I enjoy "fine dining", presenting programs on radios 4MBS, MBS Light and 4RPH and going to drama and music at Brisbane theatres.
Published February 25th 2014
When do we grow to old to dream?
Image courtesy of Transmission Films

Paris is one of the stars in this film as Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) return to the city of lights thirty years after their honeymoon, and long after the magic has faded.

Image courtesy of Transmission Films

If you saw "After Midnight" where a couple veer from infatuation to revulsion and back again in a dizzying head-spinning roller-coaster of emotional reversals, where eloquence reigns, and logic comes and goes – well this film feels like "After Midnight" twenty years on.

Nick's early academic career predicted a dazzling future, which never eventuated. Meg is frustrated by her teaching job. And each wants more from life, and from each other.

Image courtesy of Transmission Films

Le Week-End on one level is about growing old, and realising that, while there may not be much chance of resurrecting a flagging career, a couple may still have twenty or thirty years of being together.

Led by Meg's impetuousness they reject the hotel that they had stayed in thirty years previously, take an impossibly expensive room and eat, drink, and at times are merry, while always aware that their future, together or apart, is shaping up to be that of genteel poverty.

Image courtesy of Transmission Films

How will they pay for their five star existence in Paris? Can they live together? Can they bear to part? Will Meg, outraged by Nick's jealous accusation that she has been unfaithful, seek comfort in a first-ever affair – before it is too late?

Enter Morgan (played by Jeff Goldblum) who epitomises just the kind of success which has eluded them. He has made the break, and has a wife who idolises him. His books (while he is the first to admit that they are shallow) are best-sellers. And he remembers Nick as idol, mentor and guru.

There follows a dinner-party where Nick puts all of his self-doubt, all of his sense of failure on display.

It is as if Paris has stripped away the evasions which stopped Nick and Meg seeing one another for what they are, and each faces their own and their partner's imperfections and fears.

Image courtesy of Transmission Films

But alongside their fears breaks through a capacity to dance, to celebrate, and to laugh. With all of the brittle awareness of frailties and failures there is also a determination not to give in to despair.

Duncan and Broadbent give unforgettable performances.

In a bitter sweet way Duncan's tired elegant beauty, and Broadbent's intelligence and wit give us glimpses of the memorable people they once promised to be, as they spar, and reminisce, and dance, and search for how, at this stage of their lives, they can create some kind of worthwhile life together.
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Why? Because we will all grow old
Your Comment
nice piece but needs a little editing. The thumbnail in the newsletter has two glaring errors in punctuation and spelling, which almost stopped me from reading the article.
by Kathryn James (score: 2|298) 1787 days ago
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