Le Week-end, starring Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, is a film focused on the struggling marriage of a couple nearing retirement. In an attempt to rekindle their relationship they spend a weekend in Paris, where they honeymooned over 30 years ago.
Written by Hanif Kureishi, Le Week-end is a comic drama that that encompasses themes of love, lust, life, and growing old with perfect balance. The tone of the film is in constant flux: there are moments of laugh-out-loud comedy and those that are incredibly heart-wrenching. At one point Broadbent’s character states the impossibility of loving someone without hating them at the same time. This hints at the idea that true happiness is only glimpsed when you have experienced sadness, making the shifts in tone absolutely necessary and poignant.
The language is sharp yet subtly comedic, and wholly British. Directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill), the film is approached with realism and manages to capture both the beauty of Paris and the beauty in the characters’ relationship without the need for fancy camera angles or romantic lighting. In doing so, Le Week-end allows much-needed space for the all-important dialogue used to analyse the couple’s complex relationship. Both Broadbent and Duncan carry off the enduring intensity of the many restaurant scenes and offer something highly compelling and emotionally layered for the audience to get stuck into. What is left unsaid is often inferred in moments of silence, allowing for an open interpretation of what is going on for the pair psychologically.
As a low-budget British picture, Le Week-end may well be lost to obscurity behind Hollywood’s big autumn releases, but this is a film that will undoubtedly affect those who seek it out as it displays something both real and honest about how adult relationships either evolve or break down with the passing of time.
Le Week-end is released nationwide on 11th October 2013.
Watch the trailer for Le Week-end here: