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2.9 out of 5 stars
Le Week-End [Blu-ray]
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2014
My starting point is that I'm a Jim Broadbent fan - so this was a really huge disappointment. One of the worst, most depressing pointless films I've ever seen. To classify it as a comedy is appalling - it's a nihilist tragedy, at best. The main protagonists are a dysfunctional couple, one of whom appears to make a half-hearted effort to patch things up. But she - Meg, played by Lindsay Duncan, is such a hideous bitch, seemingly devoid of any redeeming features let alone attractiveness, that it stretches credulity to breaking point to imagine why anyone would even bother to try. The only passable moments are when Jeff Goldblum proves that Americans really are from another planet, but even that is small and rather flat beer in an otherwise worthless puddle of a film. Don't bother even to check if I'm right, you'll regret it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2014
Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan are perfectly cast as the couple in this movie, Jeff Goldblum is also excellent. Life has taken its toll on the couple, they are old and tired, they are at the end of their careers, their son is a pot-head, they have spent their savings buying him a house to get rid of him , their love life is limp and all hangs in the balance as they try to survive a romantic week end. Anybody who has lived and loved, lost or won, will find something in this movie, especially those reaching age milestones. Enjoy this film whilst drinking your best champagne, sit back and enjoy all the movie gives, the dramas, truths, lies and dreams and take in all those wonderful views of Paris.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2014
I watched this on blu ray last night and would like to add my review because I think the five star and the one star reviews are both right.

This film tells the story of a middle aged couple whose marriage is old, tired and worn out. They choose the occasion of their thirtieth anniversary to make an effort to rekindle their feelings for each other by staying in the same Paris hotel they visited when they were young. She rejects the room because it is beige, jumps in a taxi with her husband barely keeping up, demands that he give her all their euros and starts thrusting them at the taxi driver, driving around on a whimsical basis before stopping at a stupidly expensive hotel.

So far so good. She is rediscovering the recklessness of her youth, and breathlessly takes inspiration from glimpsing the sights. He is bumbling along behind in a state of confusion. The acting performances are extremely good, so much so that it is easy to become drawn in and start to identify with the characters. Most middle class, middle aged British couples will recognise something of themselves here, especially the bickering and arguing about the son who wants to move back in with them.

The harsh reality of their lives is revealed very quickly; she is a schoolteacher who hates her job, he reveals to her that he has just been sacked from his job teaching philosophy for making racist comments to a female student. The mood of the film is darkening, but the audience is expecting some kind of bounce back, redemption, pay off. The upside of life, rediscovered from chaos. It needs to be pointed out that the film was marketed as a feel-good, uplifting experience. The box lid says "perfect joy". The DVD was even released the week before valentines day. This is the problem that has caused all the negative reviews, because there is no redemption, at least not until the dying seconds. It just gets steadily darker, and darker. She teases him, seducing then rejecting; tittilating then mocking. He is helpless, hopeless in his adoration; desperate for any scraps of affection. So he follows along on her path of destruction. It seems as though she is trying to provoke him into leaving her, because she doesn't want to have to bear the burden of leaving him.

And this is the steady direction of the film, relentlessly down. It is like watching a car crash in slow motion. Jim Broadbent's character is crushed into the dirt to the point where he spectacularly commits social suicide. There is no redemption. The short scene tacked on at the end where they put a coin in a cafe juke box, dance a few steps and laugh is false in the extreme. The audience isn't that easily fooled. The true ending isn't shown; it would have involved divorce, mental breakdown, and possibly suicide.

I like all kinds of film, including dark depictions of human desperation in the pit of despair, but you need to be in the mood for it. The marketing put me in the mood for an uplifting romantic comedy with substance. I was left feeling like a child served an ice cream by a smiling vendor, who on biting in gets a mouthful of rotten slugs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2015
I loved this film. Took a little while to get into but was well worth it. The story line is excellent, the acting is very good and the scenes are fab of Paris. If you are in your middle age this DVD will ring home a lot of home truths. This is truly a film to remember and one to watch many times over. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2014
I was a big fan of Hanif Kureishi until this movie. And I believed the trailer and promotion talking about the film as showing redemption in a mature love relationship. Instead, this was closer to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
Having bought Le Weekend's marketing hype, I hung on to the bitter end hoping for a payoff. But a few seconds of dancing in a cafe is not redemption when there is nothing real about it.
Most feminists would describe the wife in this relationship (played by Lindsay Duncan) as a nasty piece of work. I kept waiting for her abused and depressed husband (played by Jim Broadbent) to stand up for himself, but it never happened. To the end, he kept letting her shove him around while he fantasized about love with an angry woman dead to anyone but herself. Yet he is supposed to be intelligent?
So the dots in this film remained totally unconnected. Yes, the acting was competent, but I only gave Le Weekend 2 stars (instead of one) because the film was set in Paris. This allowed us to get something for our money (scenery) to distract us from the script.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2014
So much has been written about this here that I'm going to keep this relatively short. I was reluctant to watch what the trailers indicated was a fluffy comedy intended to appeal to those who enjoyed the wish fulfillment fantasies of the middle aged and elderly as depicted in the 'Marigold Hotel' and 'Quartet' films (I am 50). This is a sometimes disturbingly accurate, and rather bleak portrayal of the decline of a long term relationship. It is not totally depressing - it offers some hint at redemption and recovery, and is sometimes absurdly funny - but is often painfully redolent of the hard reality of the regret and failure which can characterize middle age. It is superbly acted and very well written and directed. The main problem for the negative reviewers here is that the trails in cinemas and on TV were totally misleading, suggesting that this film was going to be a light comedy. It is most certainly not that - but it nevertheless should be judged on its qualities as a film rather than its inability to deliver the laughs which the distributors misguidedly publicized in order to attract maximum revenue.
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I think I misread the reviews in this film. I thought it would be a story of a late middle aged couple finding the romance and the passion they had when they first fell in love. I guess I was looking for a pink fluffy sort of film, but instead I got a gritty, disturbing movie that left me feeling the opposite of pink and fluffy. I found the husband a sad pathetic character who was desperately wanting his wife's love and compassion. The wife, to me, was totally fed up with her doormat of a husband and wanted excitement and romance in her life. They both wanted change but seemed to be stuck in their humdrum lives. Despite the ending I foresaw divorce in the not too distant future. (Yes I do know they were not a real couple). In summation I am glad I finally watched it and would recommend it as long as you are not expecting pink and fluffy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2014
Despite excellent acting and popular actors(with me anyway) this film missed the mark somehow. Parts rang true, but overall we were slightly depressed by the end! I don't think that was the reaction the director was after, but I think the script let the film down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2014
We thoroughly enjoyed this film, amused us immensely. Might have helped in that we are of a similar age to the two main protagonists and could at times see something of ourselves and/or friends in their characters.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2014
Le Weekend --Review

This was, for me, a very disappointing film, given the largely good, not to say very good, reviews it had received. I found it as irritating – perhaps even more irritating – as the recent version, so misconceived, and so untrue to the book, of Anna Karenina, and I award the Palme d’Or for the most irritating female performance on film that I have witnessed to Lesley Duncan, who beats Keira Knightley by a whisker.
It was an irritating film because its subject was an elderly couple who were silly and unattractive and behaved and spoke in a silly and unattractive fashion. Perhaps there are elderly couples like this, but this sort of superficial portrayal, bordering, as it seemed to me, on caricature, is unenlightening, unproductive, and boring. There was a scene at the dinner table where the husband, having been eulogised by a former student (a motor-mouthed and equally unconvincing American), stood up and told the motley crew of literati what a loser he was and what a failure his life had been. I don’t know if this was supposed to be moving or profound, but it was neither, merely unconvincing.
The problem with Lesley Duncan is that she had throughout this weird way of speaking, so that most of the time she was inaudible, and when she was audible she was, for most of the time, unintelligible. I thought for a while what the best word was to describe her strange utterance. I tried mumble, mutter and babble, but then I found the perfect word: burble. Everything she said seemed designed not to be heard properly, as if she was unwilling to take responsibility for any of the rubbish (as far as I could tell) that emerged through the barrier of her lips. To make matters worse, a lot of the soundtrack was overlaid by some sort of vapid pianism. It seems to me amazing that the director and the sound engineer allowed this to pass muster. I am not hard of hearing, but I would think that I missed at least half of what this actress was “saying”.
Altogether an unsatisfactory and disagreeable experience.
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