Most everyone who has spent time in Paris will tell you that it's the world's most romantic city, a metropolis of "blinding lights," as U2 put it.
That quality exacerbates the heartache at the center of "Le Week-End," a new movie from Roger Michell that follows an elderly British couple (Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent) trying to salvage their marriage during an anniversary trip to the city.
Thematically, the picture is a cousin to Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," examining one of those crisis points where hope in the future transforms into serious dread and regret.
Superficially, the film resembles a travelogue, but the journey across the beautiful Paris streets carries with it the pangs of the characters' entrenched insecurities and regrets.
The movie works best as an intimate two-hander, in which Broadbent's sad, wounded Nick and Duncan's unsatisfied Meg try to find a way forward.
It's filled with scenes of heartrending conflict and deep connection, conversations that collectively burrow into the listlessness that threatens their 30 years of marriage. And who hasn't felt frustrated, stuck, engulfed in bad luck at some point in time? Through it's a snapshot of a weekend in the lives of two ordinary people, "Le Week-End" authentically dramatizes a universal condition.
Directed by Roger Michell
Starring Lindsay Duncan, Jim Broadbent, Jeff Goldblum
Playing at Angelika, Lincoln Plaza