‘Le Week-End’: They’ll always have Paris — maybe
A 3.5-star movie review of “Le Week-End,” a bittersweet tale of a longtime marriage, and a couple looking to rekindle their love of years earlier.
Seattle Times movie critic
‘Le Week-End,’ with Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum. Directed by Roger Michell, from a screenplay by Hanif Kureishi. 95 minutes. Rated R for language and some sexual content. Guild 45th, Grand Cinema.
It seems appropriate that Roger Michell’s “Le Week-End” features a charmingly offbeat tribute to Jean-Luc Godard’s “Band of Outsiders” at its end; marriage, as this prickly but engaging film suggests, creates its own small band of outsiders, gazing at the world from a two-person fortress. Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan), a long-married but unhappy British couple, have come to Paris for the weekend, hoping to rekindle some of the happiness of their honeymoon there 30 years ago. They check into a hotel they can’t afford, stroll the streets, sit in restaurants side by side, and bicker, often viciously. Meg, more clear-eyed than romantic Nick, is thinking of ending their marriage. “Love dies,” she says. Nick quickly replies, “Only if you kill it.”
It’s a far cry from Michell’s “Notting Hill”; this is a tale of disappointment, of realizing something’s wrong that may never be fixed. It’s beautifully performed, with Broadbent and Duncan suggesting a long, complex history side by side (these two put their reading glasses on in tandem, unconsciously), and Jeff Goldblum bringing much-needed comic relief as an irritatingly smarmy American-in-Paris friend who invites them to a ghastly party. As Nick and Meg hole up in their elegant suite, which they seem to be turning into a bunker (scarves tossed over lamps, postcards and notes taped to walls like a mosaic of their lives), you can’t help but root for this lost marriage to be somehow found again. By its ambiguous yet hopeful end, we’re at one with Nick and Meg: Sometimes, you just have to dance. Somehow, you go on.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org