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Le Week-End (DQ)


Stars: Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum, Olly Alexander

Director: Roger Michell

In this rather arty talkathon, ageing Bohemians Nick and Meg (Broadbent, Duncan), she a teacher, he just sacked as a university lecturer, head for a nostalgic weekend in Paris. They make a strange couple, at once loving and deeply disillusioned.

Their room at the hotel Nick has booked turns out to be little more than a beige box. Meg walks out and, armed with only a handful of euros and no intention to pay, books into a posh and very French-looking hotel with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

They enjoy a good restaurant meal they actually pay for, then dive into an expensive oyster bar and escape without paying. In between, they bicker about what they consider to be the failure of their lives, he in particular, while sticking up a collage in their hotel room and scrawling on the wall. They also have to decide whether to take their ne'er-do-well son back to live with them.

Invited to a dinner party by an old acquaintance (Goldblum), Nick makes an embarrassing, self-pitying speech that leaves the room in silence, while Meg threatens to run off with a flirtatious Frenchman.

You get the feeling that we're supposed to find these people likeable, but it isn't easy. Broadbent is very actorly and Duncan very good, and there are a few good lines here and there in Hanif Kureishi's screenplay: 'A weekend in Paris?' exclaims Goldblum's joint-smoking son (Alexander). 'How boring,' 'Obviously,' replies Broadbent glumly, 'you've never been to Birmingham.'

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Curzon Films (Film 4/BFI). Colour by deluxe.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 07 Oct 2013