Le Week-End

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Finished with the sport section, dear?

When Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan), spend a weekend in Paris to celebrate 30 years of wedlock, their romantic illusions are splintered after realising the hotel once used for their days of courting is less romantic than remembered.

Determined to make the most of it, Meg drags her reluctant husband along for a boisterous money-no-object romp as she insists on getting her Parisian fairytale. Nick, still bewitched by his wife’s charms after all these years, soon succumbs to Meg’s happy-go-luckiness despite visibly wincing every time the mini fridge cracks open.

Warm, witty and wise, Le Weekend raises the bar for modern romantic dramas removing the rose-tinted glasses and serenading the audience with a sincere and elegant story.

Le Weekend could have be one of those predictable films about a 50 something year-old couple celebrating an anniversary in Paris who suddenly wonder why it’s taken them so long to realise they loathe each other. It could have easily been another ‘Look! ‘Oldies’ have fun too!’ movie with a Woody Allen twist of insisting Paris is so much better than the rest of the world. Yet somehow, among a minefield of tempting clichés, the film has managed to sidestep them all like a ballerina.

Perhaps in the only predictable plotline in the film, bickering soon replaces banter as the couple’s past throw up some ugly shapes, especially after running into Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), Nick’s old friend from Cambridge University.

The poster. Featuring a little ditty from me. Bit soppy, but hey.

The poster. Featuring the ditty from me: ‘Will make you fall in love all over again’…Bit soppy, but hey.

Nick’s hilariously chocolatey personality means he’s the kind of guy who could sell you a Harley Davidson when all you went in for was a tricycle. He’s successful, wealthy and has a wife who is enamoured to the point of being spiritually possessed by him. All these successes provide a bit of a dismal yardstick to the Burrows’ less extravagant existence.

The film has sincere and comical observations of how a couple can be both gifted and cursed with over familiarity. The performances and finely-tuned script reveal the beauty and burden of love and how ‘pathetically dependent’ you can become when finding The One. There’s a stark truth in the line ‘you can’t not love and hate the same person as Nick claims to cling to his wife like a ‘shelf of melting ice’.

The team behind Le Week-End are masters in their field. The script by Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette) is pin-point sharp and brims with wisdom on the grapples of long-term love. Director Roger Michell (Notting Hill) is no stranger to carving poignant love stories and this second collaboration of theirs (they last worked together on Venus) has proved their coupling to be a winning working romance.

Warm, witty and wise, Le Weekend raises the bar for modern romantic dramas removing the rose-tinted glasses and serenading the audience with a sincere and elegant story. If you thought the romance genre was dead, Le Week-End will make you fall in love all over again. 5/5

Director: Roger Michell

Written by: Roger Michell and Hanif Kureish

5of5-rating

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