Director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi reteam (after THE MOTHER and VENUS) to deliver this baby boomer dramedy. British couple Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) are in Paris for the weekend to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, but their plans are scuppered almost immediately. Amidst their attempts to recapture the spontaneity of their youth, and facing up to some hard truths about their relationship, the pair find themselves re-evaluating their own position in life and that of their generation (measured against their dreams from their youth in the '60s), and where they realistically go from here - the twilight of their lives. Somewhere in there they also run into an old friend of Nick’s (Jeff Goldblum at his wonderfully Goldblumiest).
Stylistically very similar to Richard Linklater’s BEFORE… series of films (you can even imagine Julie Delpy 20-odd years from now closely resembling Duncan), LE WEEK-END has the same sharpness to its writing, and an equally sure hand steering across comedy and drama. There is a very real, familiar quality to Nick and Meg: their hot-and-cold moods; their over-familiarity with each other; their realisation, frustration and acceptance that they have not achieved what they wanted to in their prime. Broadbent (ANOTHER YEAR) and Duncan (ABOUT TIME) never miss a beat, of course - they've been perfecting variations on these roles for most of their lives. Michell has a knack for choosing great, subtle cinematographers, and his record goes unspoiled in Nathalie Durand, who has no problem allowing Paris to look everything like every tourist wants it to be.
LE WEEK-END’s only real faltering step comes when Michell/Kureishi try to bring the story to a head; its crescendo moment doesn’t quite feel earned by the rest of the film to that point. Fortunately that minor fizzle isn’t enough to detract from an otherwise amiable journey a by turns delightful/maddening twosome - especially when it’s recovered by a coda scene so lovely, slight, and Francophile-touristy it feels like a chocolate on a hotel pillow.
LE WEEK-END is released February 20 in Australia, February 27 in New Zealand and March 14 in the US.