Catching Up – Le Week-End

The plot synopsis for Le Week-End on IMDB is accurate, even as it gives no real sense to what kind of film it is in actuality. It states, “A British couple return to Paris many years after their honeymoon in an attempt to rejuvenate their marriage.”

The couple is Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent). Yes, they do indeed go to Paris. Yes, they do hope to rejuvenate their marriage. However, the movie isn’t two former lovebirds seeing the sights and reminiscing about old times. Meg and Nick have significant, tangled feelings of disappointment, fear and bitterness. Throw onto that pile jealousy and a lack of trust and one might get the sense that Le Week-End is rather miserable. In a bit of a shock it isn’t, even as our protagonists bite back at one another, discuss physical indiscretions and argue in front of friends.

Directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Morning Glory) and written by playwright Hanif Kureishi, Le Week-End naturally progresses it’s pair, introducing us to the Meg and Nick as they first arrive in Paris. Financial issues hover on the edges of the conversation, a distant noose to each interaction. Duncan’s Meg is the stifled one, more of an outgoing presence that yearns to live somewhere other than the quiet, droll English town she resides in now. Broadbent’s Nick is more sad-sack, kind of desperate just to hang on to his wife. The turns in their relationship is all the more surprising considering where it seems to begin.

Nick isn’t as simple and solemn as he appears. Meg isn’t as wild as she plays herself up to be. Both are terrifically played. One gets a sense of the two’s history and the subtle ways their moods shift when met with other personalities. One such personality is Jeff Goldblum’s Morgan, a former student of Nick’s that accidentally forces them to confront their status directly.

Le Week-End is full of little surprises through out. The movie doesn’t hide the truths about Meg and Nick; it gently unravels them. One thinks they’re happy and tempers flare. It appears they can’t possibly reconcile, they grow closer. That each zig and zag easily, sensibly transitions to the next is a joy to watch.

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