Le Week-End

Time well spent

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke can relax. No need to hang around another 20 years waiting to shoot the senior citizen installment of their and Richard Linklater’s evolution-of-a-relationship franchise, the Before (Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight) series.

Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, in Le Week-End, have done it for them.

OK, that may be a bit glib, but the similarities are readily apparent. Nick and Meg Burrows (Broadbent, Duncan—both terrific), a British couple celebrating their 30th anniversary, head to Paris for a getaway, walking and talking (and running—we’ll get to that) around Montmartre, Montparnasse, and other splendid precincts of the City of Light.

It’s a lived-in marriage; they know each other’s moves inside and out. Nick, a university professor facing retirement, is affable but aloof. Meg, a teacher, speaks her mind—bursts of affection, criticism, emotional weather reports. At times, she seems borderline bipolar. Much of what she says to Nick about their years together, their future, is hurtful.

How does he stand it? He loves her.

Charming and more than slightly alarming, then, Le Week-End tracks the Burrowses from their Chunnel ride into the French capital to their first hotel check-in (a disaster) to their posh digs at the Plaza Athénée, with a balcony looking out, lovingly, on the Eiffel Tower. They can’t afford such luxury, but what the hey?

Directed in on-the-fly fashion by Roger Michell from a sharp screenplay by his Venus collaborator, Hanif Kureishi, Le Week-End is a mood-swinging meander through that most cinegenic of cities—and through the ups and downs of a relationship.

Nick and Meg duck into cafes and brasseries, delight in sumptuous soups and steaks, and tear out of a high-priced restaurant without paying the bill. It’s a comic escapade that gets their hearts pumping and finds them on a street corner in a chance meeting with Nick’s old Cambridge pal Morgan (Jeff Goldblum, buoyant and kooky). Morgan, an American ex-pat with a new, young French wife and an apartment in a tony arrondissement, invites Nick and Meg to a dinner party the next night.

There, the couple drink and chat with Morgan’s artsy, intellectual coterie. One of them makes a pass at Meg, while Nick finds himself toking weed and commiserating with Morgan’s teenage son (Olly Alexander), on a sulky visit from New York.

Then it’s time for dinner, and the toasts. Nick’s response to his college chum’s effusive salute is the pivot point of the movie. He unleashes a scorched-earth self-appraisal, full of bitterness, regret, and rage: It’s a shocker of a moment, and a triumph. Broadbent, always the character actor, never the lead, amazes.

For its keen, almost clinical, snapshot dissections, for the fearless performances of its two stars (Duncan, known mostly in the U.K. for her TV work, is a revelation), for its wistfulness, and its wisdom, Le Week-End is time well spent. Not exactly a breezy getaway, the film visits the sites, and drops down on rougher terrain, too.

Skagit Buffet
More Film...
LA 92
A cautionary tale

Often, documentaries about historic events prompt the question, “Why now?” Sadly, that will never be asked about Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin’s searing LA 92, which arrives on the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots to address an America more conscious than ever of the problems…

more »
The Indians Who Rocked the World

In the fascinating documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, the great jazz critic Gary Giddins says, “The one group that hasn’t really been investigated in terms of their contribution [to music history] is the Native Americans.”

This new film, co-directed by Catherine…

more »
Blade Runner 2049
Man or replicant?

In 1982, when replicants hadn’t yet become a Hollywood business model, Blade Runner failed to do what Warner Brothers hoped it would: make a pile of money.

It succeeded, however, in acquiring the reputation of a modern science-fiction classic. Director Ridley Scott’s 2019-set story…

more »
Dog Day Afternoon

4:00pm|Ferndale Library

Dig Into Fall

6:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Restoring Gut Health

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library


9:30pm|Green Frog

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Quail Class

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island

6:30pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Hawk Talk

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Coping with a cooper's hawk


Comedy Open Mic


Spectrum Dance Theater Lecture and Demo

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Kombucha Class

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Healing Through Art

5:00pm|PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Beer Tasting Class

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Eat Your Words Cookbook Club

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Buried Treasure

7:00pm|Village Books

The Rhythm Runners

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Scottish Dancing

7:30pm|Fairhaven Library

see our complete calendar »

Trove CWWarrenMiller Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market