‘Le Week-End’: A nuanced romance for grown-ups
By BILL STAMETS For Sun-Times Media March 20, 2014 4:38PM
A return to Paris prompts biting words between Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and husband Nick (Jim Broadbent) in “Le Week-End.” | MUSIC BOX FILMS
‘LE WEEK-END’ ★★★
Nick Burrows Jim Broadbent
Meg Burrows Lindsay Duncan
Morgan Jeff Goldblum
Music Box Films presents a film directed by Roger Michell and written by Hanif Kureishi. Running time: 93 minutes. Rated R (for language and some sexual content). Opens Friday at Landmark Century Centre and CineArts in Evanston.
Two Brits take the train to Paris in “Le Week-End,” a nuanced romance for grown-ups directed by Roger Michell (“Hyde Park on Hudson,” “Notting Hill”). Thirty years after their honeymoon, Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) revisit Paris. Two days of marital critique includes skipping checks and a dash of kink.
The couple checks into a premiere suite once occupied by their prime minister. Their balcony affords a view of the Eiffel Tower, even if their credit card does not. They visit a cemetery, kiss in a cathedral and savor wine and oysters. And they exchange biting words about what’s awry between them.
Nick implores her to pick new bathroom tiles. Meg threatens to consort with a “Bleak House” translator. Withering rebukes are her forte: “You follow me around the house like a child with a popped balloon.”
“You think you’re bipolar? Try tripolar,” he taunts, his face creased with sour panic.
Their sex life is up for grabs. “Why don’t you ever let me touch you?” Nick wonders.
“It’s not love — it’s like being arrested,” snaps Meg. Later she puts her spouse through a canine masochistic scenario.
Nick’s friend from their radical Cambridge days invites him and Meg to a dinner party. Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), a shallow economist with a trans-Atlantic bestseller, toasts his onetime mentor Nick. After itemizing his woes, the lefty prof makes his exit with the line: “Think of me as falling out of a window forever, for I am truly f---ed.”
“Le Week-End” credits one consultant, a Birmingham philosopher who penned “Wittgenstein: Making Sense of Other Minds.” That nails the matter in Hanif Kureishi’s screenplay. There’s a lovely nod to a 1964 film by Jean-Luc Godard: Nick, Meg and Morgan dance in awkward syncopated cool by a jukebox. This late adulthood lark is a treat.