By William Wolf


Appealing actors can make a movie, and it is never more so than in “Le Week-end,” shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by Roger Michell from a screenplay by Hanif Kureishi, the film teams Lindsay Duncan as Meg and Jim Broadbent as Nick, a British couple who decide to celebrate a 30th wedding anniversary with a trip to Paris.

In one respect there is jauntiness about their relationship, and in another, the marriage is fraught with antagonisms, and apparently a lack of sex for some time. Meg recoils at one point when Nick wants to touch her. The gesture says a lot.

But they are also out for a good time in hope of rekindling some sparks despite the underlying bitterness we discern. They are also unrealistic. After first being booked into a dingy hotel, they move and hole up in a fancy hotel even though they are too maxed out n credit cards to pay for the huge bill they run up. There is a we-might-as-well-enjoy-it attitude. They skip out on a restaurant without paying the bill.

They accidentally encounter an old friend, played by the ultra exuberant Jeff Goldblum, and at a dinner at his home, the reality begins to reveal itself. Broadbent as Nick has a scene in which he embarrasses everyone with his confession that his standing as an educator has completely unraveled. It is a very sad confessional that strips him bare, as his friend, who has been adulatory, tries to figure out how to react.

While some of the film seems forced, the quality of the acting has appeal in itself. Broadbent is expert at making a character come to life with all its complexity, and Duncan, in addition to being an extraordinary actress, also happens to grow even more attractive as she matures. A Music Box Films release. Reviewed October 29, 2013.


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