Le Week-End: A Marriage on the Rocks, Shoring-Up In Paris

Le Week-End is a honest and sometimes stark look at the harder side of marriage.

To celebrate their anniversary, a sixty-something married couple sets off to Paris in an effort to rekindle their love in the City of Lights. The romantic setting, however, comes up short immediately upon arrival when Meg (Lindsay Duncan) is so upset at the cramped, bohemian pension her husband Nick (Jim Broadbent) booked that she quickly hails a cab and races for a 5-star hotel in the city Center. A bit off good fortune lands them in a penthouse suite, but the luxe setting only belies the tattered relationship.

Le Week-End is a deceiving romantic comedy, reminiscent of Broadbent’s Another Year, only beneath the surface laughs and scattered moments of tenderness there is something darker and more despairing. Each time the couple’s attraction feels rekindled, there’s an interruption – a phone call, a slip on the cobblestones – and pair snaps back to their bickering and dissatisfaction with their love, their family, their careers, and the hand life dealt them. A quality script and wonderful performances by Duncan and Broadbent transform the road trip romance into a movie that bears the full-weight of the labor of love.

It all comes to head at a party they are invited to after the couple bumps into Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), an old student of philosophy professor Nick. Morgan has become as successful as he is vapid. At the party, the couple take to their own corners. Meg flirts with a younger man; Nick bonds with Morgan’s son. The highlight is a self-effacing, confessional toast by Nick, a jolt of honest emotional bearing that is enough to send Nick and Meg out into the Parisian streets in search of catharsis and romantic redemption. Inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s A Band of Outsiders, they loosen their grip on life and take hold of romantic dreams of youth.