Interesting connections are made via the Internet. I received an email a couple of weeks ago asking if I would like to preview and write about a new movie. I answered “sure!” although uncertain what was expected.
I am not a professional movie critic, or a critic of anything. I doubt I could be a food critic, for instance. If someone else cooks I love it! It is not often other people’s cooking or restaurant food sends me running back to my kitchen. But I digress…
Hub and I watched Le Week-End on our computer (a nice-sized 21” screen). It was not ideal – certainly not equivalent to theater viewing – but it worked.
Le Week-End is a British film about two boomers seeking to rejuvenate their marriage – or not – with a weekend in Paris, the City of Light and Romance. British actors Jim Broadbent (Nick) and Lindsay Duncan (Meg) play the pair celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.
Nick is the conforming, satisfied partner. He just lost his teaching job at a university, forced into early retirement, and is in emotional turmoil. Meg is the take-charge, is-this-all-there-is? spouse seeking more. She is unsure exactly what that might be.
The camera veers quickly between Parisian street scenes, the Eiffel Tower, Saint Chappelle, restaurants and cafes, run-down lodgings, high-class hotels, and an upscale apartment. The cinematography is terrific and the settings present a stunning backdrop to the couple’s physical and mental wanderings, and their incessant bickering.
Nick and Meg run into an old friend, Morgan, played wonderfully by Jeff Goldblum. Morgan’s pretentious, artsy friends, pot-smoking son, trophy wife, and seemingly successful urbane life contrast with the couple’s angst.
The British accents were sometimes difficult to understand, and Meg tends to whisper and swallow her words. A big screen viewing and theater quality sound might mitigate these issues.
Le Week-End reminded me of a 2012 American movie, Hope Springs, starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, another boomer couple seeking to revitalize their marriage. They (actually, Streep’s character) seek marriage counseling, their therapist played by Steve Carrell.
Another British movie exploring the ordeals mature men and women face is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Seven English pensioners travel to India seeking an affordable retirement and satisfying lifestyle. All arrive with emotional baggage, including a married couple with very different ideas on how to spend the rest of their life.
These movies portray a modern phenomenon - older couples experiencing relationship discontent.
Divorce rates in the U.S., soaring for years, dropped from 50% to just over 40% - except for the over-50s age group. Fewer than one in ten over-50s divorced in 1990. By 2009, one in four 50-plus couples divorced. The increased divorce rate among older couples is not an American anomaly. The British divorce rate for over 50s also climbed over the past couple of decades.
Theories abound on why baby boomers continue to divorce. Boomers grew up amidst political and social upheaval. Men and women have more options than in the past. Women need not stay with a spouse because of monetary and other concerns. Boomers live longer and remain healthier longer than previous generations. If one partner wants to be an active retiree and the other is satisfied as a homebody, the couple confront challenges. The pressure to stay together, strong in the past, no longer exists.
Revisiting Le Week-End, the movie highlights the major social trend of older couples facing marital dilemmas as their children leave the nest and careers wind down.
I enjoyed the movie, but quite frankly hub was a bit bored. Le Week-End is all about relationships, and women tend to like relationship stories more than men. There is a lot of dialogue, and no guns or car chases or physical fights or sex or extra-terrestrials.
My kind of movie. Watch for it (official opening March 14th).
Go and enjoy. And
bring your guy with you.
Or make it a girls’ night out.
Add a glass of wine for a perfect evening.
Disclaimer: I was not paid cash (American dollars or British pounds), bitcoins, or any other monetary compensation, and received no food, stock tips, goods or services, to watch the movie or write this article.
Next time, some chocolate would be nice…