Le Week-End (15)

Directed by Roger Michell
Written by Hanif Kureishi
Starring Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan
FACT, Liverpool
From 11th October 2013

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is not a conventional rom-com of a late middle-aged couple returning to the place where they spent their honeymoon thirty years ago. Any film starring Jim Broadbent is more often than not worth watching, and again this is the case.

Trapped and frustrated in a marriage which has completely lost its spark - for example, it's five years since Nick ( Broadbent) last saw his wife Meg (Lindsay Duncan) naked - with both of them pining for the 'good old days' when they were young, which, in Meg's case, is never delved into.

Unlike the character Broadbent played in Another Year, directed by Mike Leigh, in which he has a comfortable, loving relationship with his 60 something partner, this is an entirely different situation. The couple - Nick a lecturer, Meg a teacher - endlessly bicker over trivial matters and are bored and apprehensive about what the future holds in store for each of them.

However the film does have plenty of comic/pathetic moments, sometimes dark-tinged. They still think they can enjoy the high life in fancy restaurants in Paris, but when confronted with the bill, and unable to pay it, they do a runner.

One quote from the film stood out for me. When Nick accidentally meets up again with an old university chum, Morgan (Jeff Goldblum) from the late 60s, he remarks "What a breeze it was for us then" (ie. to be young at that time), when reminiscing with him about those exciting, creative times.

Compare that with the many barriers young folks are currently confronted with - high unemployment, steep university bank loans, major problems in getting a foothold on the property ladder, etc. They won't look back with the same affection as Nick and Meg and many of their contemporaries. thirty years down the line.

I don't wish to be cruel but a better title for the movie may have been 'Waiting To Retire And Be More Bored.'

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