Review: Le Week-end

16:00, Feb 28 2014
Le Weekend
DISASTROUS DAYS: This couples' 30th wedding anniversary plans don't quite pan out in Le Week-end.

They thought a weekend in Paris would be just the thing to put the spark back in their marriage.

A chance to rediscover their old honeymoon haunts and spend time reconnecting away from all the grind of their jobs and domestic life.

However, Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) Burrows 30th anniversary celebrations have not gone to plan.

The hotel hasn't changed in three decades and Meg refuses to stay there as a consequence.

A stony silence envelops and a trip straight back to the gare de Nor looks on the cards until Meg impulsively seeks out a room at a five-star luxury hotel.

All they have left is a Presidential Suite that Tony Blair once slept in, but realising it's his only option to keep the peace and have a shot at intimacy Nick reluctantly agrees "as long they've changed the sheets".


Even then Nick and Meg continue to bicker, as she wants to forget their life back home for 48 hours and he wants to discuss the bathroom tiles.

"You really make my blood boil like nobody else," she opines. "It's the sign of a deep connection," he chirps back. 

Like 2012's Hope Springs, Le Week-End is the tale of a long-standing relationship in crisis, of two people who now finally have time for one another and have discovered they have very little in common.

In Le Week-End's case it's a story that is nestled in a safe, experienced set of hands.

Director Roger Michell and screenwriter Hanif Kureski have covered the concerns of middle age expertly before in 2003's The Mother and 2006's Venus, while Broadbent (Iris) and Duncan (About Time) have the right chemistry to make their careworn relationship seem utterly believeable.

Michell's intimate, hand-held style synchs perfectly with the film's tone and traversing of the city of love's streets, making it feel like a strange kind of parallel/sequel to Richard Linklater's Before Sunset.

Some may find the rollercoaster of emotions, lamentations for lost youth, bad behaviour and continued late male angst a little too melodramatic or indeed on the nose, but Le Week-End is further proof of the rich seam of storytelling offered by focusing on those born before The Graduate came out.