It feels like a great film for a few minutes, and that says something. Le Week-End turns out though to be another married couple threatening divorce soured scenario. Can’t there be a film about joyful old folks who are simply in love with each other, just rusty perhaps? I can’t deny though the truth and poignancy of many scenes, with Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as a three-decades married couple in Paris, France on a vacation to spice up their lives. They look well-off, but we learn they have hardly anything in savings, and yet the wife keeps throwing money away.
How can this very distinguished and educated couple not afford a ritzy French restaurant? Their entire accumulation of wealth was spent on their scallywag good-for-nothing son, as it turns out. Well, even strapped for cash they deserve a nice meal, don’t they? One of the early old folks shenanigans involves on walking out on the check, but Meg (Duncan) can’t find a way out of the restaurant without opening up a door of a staff meeting, or a broom closet. Nick (Broadbent), the rest of the time, is doing his damndest to cop a feel on his wife, who is repulsed by his touch. Nick is on his knees begging at one point for a whiff of Meg’s crotch while she’s donning teasing lingerie (you’re hanging on with suspense with how much the filmmakers are going to show), but she’s the type to find delight in seeing him cracking a bone and breaking something.
Typical of squabbling couples’ movies these days, one of them is suspected of having an extramarital affair. The surprise, though, is that it’s not who you think. But still, as well done as it is, can’t we have another kind of dramatic conflict instead of relying on extramarital affairs as a kicker? But there are joys of enduring love, too, between our couple. But even better, merry moments too with Jeff Goldblum as a fellow friend, who constantly needs to be reaffirmed and loved, who invites the couple over to his fancy dinner party. This guy’s vocabulary is too much, so pompous and so pleased with his own laureates, it’s hysterical!
The script will require Broadbent to make an embarrassing drunk speech over dinner, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t the most touching, emotionally naked speech. Is there an actor besides Broadbent that can turn the humility of a potential excruciating social faux pas and make it so sporting and noble? The question you might be wondering is if this all ends on a happy ending. Let’s just say these old-timers still know how to dance. Poignant moments trounce relationship cynicism, at least this time out at the movies.
93 Minutes. Rated R.
DRAMA / ADULT ORIENTATION / SATURDAY NIGHT SLUMBER