Jim Broadbent, Jeff Goldblum and Lindsay Duncan star in the latest, perfectly polished Michell-Kureishi collaboration
Ten years ago, in The Mother, director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi explored the sexual yearnings of a woman in her sixties. They reunited for 2006’s Venus, in which Peter O’Toole’s retired actor is invigorated by a brash but beautiful teenager. Their latest collaboration, Le Week-End, is perhaps more prosaic – though no less enjoyable – as a couple heading towards retirement must contend with the effects of a long-term marriage.
We join them on their way to Paris in an attempt to rekindle their flagging relationship. Jim Broadbent is Nick, a lecturer who – we later discover – is being pushed from his job by the college seniors following a politically incorrect comment he made. Lindsay Duncan is Meg, Nick’s loyal but restless spouse.
Bickering in the way all couples do, upon arrival Meg hates their room so much they switch to a five-star joint on the Champs-Élysées – a trivial matter but one that nevertheless masks deeper resentments simmering away below the surface. Things really come to a head when they bump into Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), an old university chum of Nick’s now living in Paris with a much younger wife. He invites them to a dinner party, in honour of his latest academic publication, setting up a brutal, bitter, but also poignant final act.
Broadbent in particular is on vicious form (even if the scene where he gets stoned with Morgan’s teenage son and gets the giggles is excruciating), while Duncan is a fine foil, her character twisted by her own concerns of a life wasted. With Michell anchoring proceedings in his usual unfussy manner, what stands out most is Kureishi’s perfectly polished diamond of a script.
General release from Fri 11 Oct.