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3.7 out of 5 stars19
3.7 out of 5 stars
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At present this 2008 French movie is only available on BLU RAY in the States (with English subtitles). But therein lies a problem for UK and European buyers…

The US issue is REGION-A LOCKED - so it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK Blu Ray players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't). Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Until such time as someone in France or elsewhere gives “”Summer Hours” a REGION B and C release – check your BLU RAY player has the capacity to play REGION A – before you buy the expensive Criterion issue…
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on 22 April 2009
L'Heures d'Ete (Summer Hours) is a gentle story about how a family's priorities change over time.

Juliette Binoche is splendid as one of the adult siblings; she looks about 10 years younger than her passport would suggest (aided by a bold hair lightening, which, whilst quite a surprise, certainly takes the years off). Her character is light and humerous (another departure), and the story slightly sad, but inevitable and by no means cloying.

Definitely European in feel (wordy, thoughtful, a little slow) but without the artsyness or angst that can be a little too heavy in continental movies. Refreshing to see a current film with not a single special effect or product placement.
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on 15 April 2009
This is a thought provoking, introspective, carefully observed movie by writer-director Olivier Assayas. The film was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Musee d'Orsay. You will see the old, elegant French furniture and paintings (Corot, Monet)and large sketches by Odilon Redon, which are loans for the film from the Musee d'Orsay. I fell in love with Juliette Binchoe's character who is a terrifyingly chic designer living in New York. Above all, Charles Berling is fantastic in that film. He loves his mother house, objects, paintings and his heritage. He is the representation of Francophile in this film. He wants to protect the valuable artefacts in family collection because they are apart of his family identity and connection. He thinks that they are also essential for the future generation of his family. He wants to preserve this. But his siblings disagree! The film explores the idea of ownership & how private paintings and artefacts become museums collection. Only French could make this kind of drama. I would highly recommend this film.
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'Summer Hours' is a film that talus to us a out the present. The mother of this family is celebrating her 75th birthday at their summer place outside of Paris. During this time she speaks to her oldest son, Frederic, played by Charles Berlinger. She wants him to know about the things she will be leaving behind, some very old and worthwhile when she us dead, and what should be done. She does not write anything down and does not trust lawyers. Her other children, Adrienne, played by Juliette Binoche us a very busy artist living in New York, and Jeremie played by Jeremie Renier lives in a China with his I family. They visit once a year as the mother expects, and this film is really about them.

Of course, the mother soon dies, the family decides to sell everything or give some of the valuable to a museum. The memories of mom center around her living with her uncle, a great artist, after their father and her husband dies. They all have their memories, and we share a little about their lives and their families. This film is about their decisions and his they will proceed with their lives. It gives us a glimpse into our futures.

Recommended. prisrob 05-25-14
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on 9 November 2010
Cinéma vérité? That's what 'Summer Hours' seeks to be... a carefully crafted exploration of real people's lives. But, despite the excellent acting, intriguing story and beautiful cinema-photography the problem is that the film fails to explore the reasons why the characters feel the way they do. You want to know why, but it doesn't really tell you - there's no context to their emotions. For example, a man breaks down because his family home and all that it means to him is about to be lost, but there's insufficient evidence of why this means so much to him to make you engage in his, superbly acted, reaction. And, without this it just drifts along... leaving you thinking that there's a much better film below the surface trying to get out. 'Paris', with its similarly slow, 'true to life' storyline shows just how good this type of subtle French cinema (and Juliette Binoche) can be in the hands of the right director, but 'Summer Hours' isn't much more than a languidly enjoyable example of how not to do it.
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on 9 March 2015
If you can empathise with the one of the characters in this film who puts immense value into pieces of glass, wood, canvas, a house its garden etc, and who, when he fails to see the same degree of importance put on a house and its contents by his siblings – then you may enjoy this film. On the other hand if you feel that it is people who count and not artefacts or buildings then you may have a different take on this film.

The most significant thing I noticed about this film was the way I just didn’t engage with it at all and found it uninteresting.

I really think it is a shame that that is how I feel about it because there are some very good actors in this film, there isn’t a bad line delivered anywhere. The camera work is good. Most of it would be good if it wasn’t for the way the narrative is delivered.

Although a well acted, albeit with dull characters, the director appears to have gone out of his way to tell what could have been a good story in an incredibly dull and…well yes just incredibly dull way.

Clearly many do like this film but for me, it was a disappointment.
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2011
Assayas,director of the monumental Carlos,with its worldly references,here shows he is also able to direct a quieter fictional film of the power of memories and the beauty of summer's passing.This drama about an elderly art collector,Helene(Edith Scob),whose birthday(75) brings the annual summer visit from her 3 children, Frederic (Charles Berling),an economist,Adrienne(Juliette Binoche), the designer for a Japanese store based in New York,and Jeremie,who works for Puma in China.They are accompanied by partners and children,although Adrienne is engaged to a man in New York who we see later in the film.

Nearing the end of her life,Helene is slightly depressed,thinking about passing on her estate in the country and her art collection, in memory of her uncle,artist Paul Berthier,to her son Frederick,who wants to share it with his siblings and her grandchildren.Her children begin to discuss what will happen to Helene's art collection(works by Bethier,by Redilon and Corot,as well as beautiful vases,cabinets and furniture) when she dies.Each sibling has different plans.Adrienne and Jeremie live abroad.Frederick is wanting to preserve the art works in the family and keep the country estate with the housekeeper Elouise for the family.We feel the draining away of authenticity and identity as the house becomes a ghost of itself.A nice touch is when Elouise is given one of the beautiful twin vases to take away when the house closes,saying she wouldn'y have wanted anything valuable.

The elegance and subtlety of treatment(without being talky),the concept of preserving or profiting from family heirlooms,the younger generation who have no connection to them,the uprooting and dislocating and dispersal of family life,is done with sentiment but without sentimentality.Berling carries the main load of the film very well,but the other actors are just right in this measured, poignant examination of time passing and life moving on in modern France.The younger generation spend one last week-end in this beautiful house in the country as they will not inherit it.Playing someinteresting music,surprisingly,by the Incredible String Band.A small gem.
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on 4 November 2014
Very French which I love but slightly long winded. Worth it to see Juliet Binoche in all her glowing fabulousness.
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on 6 June 2011
This is a delicious film. It portrays one aspect of how globalization affects culture, family life, and one's view of the world. If you've been in the world of French film for decades, you have been struck by how it is shows a middle-class urban society, with deep (and enviable?) and fulfilling roots in rural life, to which its members repair when the need for 'community' and family ties arises. No longer. The children have gone (to the US and China in this case) and they won't be coming back in the near future. And maman's pricy art collection? Not really interested. It is this and much more. A great caste, a good story, a universal perspective - could it be that France has grown up and left nostalgia (which anchored it but made it ever so boring when compared to move-on national cultures like that of Spain or China) behind? Like many new French films (especially the work of Jacques Audiard and Olivier Assayas) this hopefully gives us a glimpse of a new and vibrant film culture in France. We've waited so long.
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on 6 February 2016
Great value, good product & excellent service
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