Le Week-End: movie review

Posted on 31 October 2013
By Rebecca Baker
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Paris: the city of love, romance and the holiday destination for troubled couple Meg (Lindsey Duncan)and Nick Burrows (Jim Broadbent).

Notting Hill director Roger Michell echoes a Jean-Luc Goddard style in this dysfunctional romance, illustrating the darker side of a 30 year marriage.

As Nick and Meg arrive at their trashy hotel straight from the Gare Du Nord their benign yet familiar arguments (from their troubled kids to the never-ending selection of bathroom tiles) rise to the surface of the couple’s problems.

Deciding that she’d rather spend her life savings then a night in a beige coloured suite, Meg opts for breaking her bank at a different hotel and cracking open the mini bar.

Their romantic weekend turns into couples’ therapy as Meg starts to question the purpose of their marriage.

Michell utilises their problems to reflect on common issues that could break up a seemingly healthy marriage. Meg, a GCSE English teacher, is a kindred spirit who wants to be untethered from her mundane life and diminished romance.

When the couple receive a rather expensive restaurant bill, they make a run for it, making their time together more exhilarating. Her character reflects Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard; she has a yearning for youth and a rebellious nature.

Nick, a philosophy professor, is money conscious and worries over tedious things such as future plans. However, his inclinations of sexual desire towards his wife are refreshing and a surprising contradiction for Broadbent’s character.

He wants his wife, but she is untouchable to him – constantly rejecting his requests. These constant rejections make Nick an isolated character, almost a third wheel to his own marriage.

He revitalises himself by listening to 60’s music and like Meg, he remembers his youth and relives the past. Both Nick and Meg’s personalities are bipolar as they are lovers one moment and enemies the next.

As Meg and Nick passionately kiss in the street in walks of the voice of reason, Nick’s old university friend Morgan (Jeff Goldblum).

Morgan, who is surprised to see his old friend, invites the couple to his apartment to celebrate the release of his new book.

As Meg and Nick dress up for the fancy occasion Nick accuses his wife of being unfaithful, spiraling the couple’s affection into pure loathing.

The mention of the green-eyed monster infuriates both Nick and Meg as they are forced to mingle with Morgan and his friends.

Morgan chats to Nick alone, reflecting on his previous marriage and contrasts the feelings of Meg and being restrained. Morgan is used as a third dimension or a third point of this dysfunctional love triangle.

Michell’s themes of youth, age, regret, jealousy, love and longing are all established as a clever reflection about living life to the full.

The most romantic city in the world is portrayed as a rejuvenating setting, which can revive a complicated love whether you are young or old. Le Week-End is refreshing take on how going with the flow is a good life philosophy.