Navigating a marriage can be a tricky balancing act. In director Roger Michell's new film, "Le Week-End," he ponders the possibility of "loving and hating the same person" after 30 years of being united in wedlock.
British couple Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent) decide to celebrate their 30th anniversary in Paris by staying at the hotel in which they spent their honeymoon. It's now a dump, so they seek better digs. Are we to assume this is analogous to the state of their marriage?
The couple caustically quip back and forth with one another over dinner, while sightseeing and in bed. But Meg and Nick also display mutual, genuine affection, quite overtly at times. In an unexpected and profoundly romantic gesture, Nick passionately kisses Meg as they're walking on the street. Out of nowhere, Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), an old colleague of Nick's, witnesses the "un-English passion."
Overjoyed by having run into them, Morgan invites the two to a party he's giving the following evening. It's a gathering of highbrow academics celebrating the publication of Morgan's new book. At dinner, Morgan waxes poetically about how Nick influenced his life. Nick replies by pointing out his own failures and flaws. Meg is so taken aback that she comes to his defense in a loving speech. As the couple gazes at each other, volumes are spoken.
Michell ("Notting Hill") knows how to utilize to the fullest extent the immense talent of his actors. He doesn't judge his characters but rather sublimely celebrates their interaction and what lies beneath. Broadbent, as always, is brilliant at playing the everyman, while Duncan perfectly complements his mere presence. And Goldblum, forever effervescent, is a scene-stealer.
In "Le Week-End" there's no dodging bullets (unless one counts the verbal ones). And the only special effects are those that "The City of Light" provide in all its glory. This is simply a film about love and the commitments people make on its behalf.
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