The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Le Week-End | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Le Week-End

An aging British couple head to Paris in an attempt to revitalize their marriage.

Directed by: Roger Michell
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan

Having spent their honeymoon in Paris many years ago, married British couple Meg (Duncan) and Nick (Broadbent) return for a weekend to the French capital, hoping to reignite their relationship. In a failed attempt at a romantic gesture, Nick has booked the couple into the same hotel they stayed in during their honeymoon but Meg instantly disapproves ("It's too beige!", she complains) and insists on taking a suite in one of the city's more expensive hotels. Over the course of the weekend, the couple bicker, dredging up the past, culminating in a party at the home of American economist Morgan (Goldblum), an old Cambridge buddy of Nick's.
Parisians have a longstanding reputation for a lack of hospitality towards tourists and if they have to deal with obnoxious visitors like Meg and Nick on a regular basis, it's all too understandable why. Meg and Nick are the year's most hideous onscreen couple; a pair of Little Englanders of the worst kind, self-centered and quick to blame everyone else for their problems. They've barely set foot in France before they're patronizing the locals, even going as far as committing fraud by fleeing an expensive restaurant without paying and running up a hotel bill they know they can't afford. When the hotel manager informs them of just how serious their situation is, Meg merely laughs and says something along the lines of "I'm not staying here to listen to this nonsense". I was braced for a line like "Oh you silly little garlic eaters, don't you realize we're British?".
Nick is a particularly loathsome individual who feels the world is against him. He complains that his son is a bum who spends his afternoons watching TV; but when your parents are petty criminals with no respect for anyone else, how do you expect to turn out? A teacher at a polytechnic, he's set to lose his job after making a racist remark to a black student. Nick spins it as a case of political correctness gone mad but if we were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, any suspicions about his xenophobia are confirmed later when, drinking in a bar frequented by African immigrants, he exclaims "We can't do a runner from here, they'll beat us up!" That's one vote UKIP can count on then.
The movie ends with the three leads recreating the dance scene from Godard's 'Band of Outsiders' but neither the film nor its horrid characters have done anything to earn such a joyous moment and this is exactly the sort of safe bourgeois film-making the Nouvelle Vague railed against. Michell may have aimed for a bittersweet comedy but the taste 'Le Week-End' leaves in your mouth is merely bitter.

Eric Hillis