“Le Week-End” Takes You On A Picturesque Getaway To Hades
Film is full of great lovers, and today they are bound less and less by age, location, time, or race. They can make audiences swoon as they recall the tender first years of their love, the joy and tears of what comes after, and even the bittersweet years as they progress and the losses they must inevitably face. Then there are the couple who show us the sobering consequences when two people are tragically, perfectly matched by their failings. “Le Week-End” is the latter.
Film is full of great lovers, and today they are bound less and less by age, location, time, or race. They can make audiences swoon as they recall
It revolves around Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent), who are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary with a weekend in Paris. But it doesn't take long to discover that their marital bed is comprised less of roses than thorns.
Dysfunctional couples are practically the lifeblood of film, television, and any other media you can name. But what's the point if none of the dysfunction is enough to make us care, draw us in, or even really entertain us well?
Furthermore, what if one half of the couple seems almost devoid of the basic characteristics that any sane person would want in a partner? Nick may seem a bit inadequate to grapple with some of the obstacles life throws his way, but that merely makes him another person who hasn't lived up to his own potential or expectations. Hardly a reason to condemn him.
His wife Meg, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have any positive qualities whatsoever. She constantly belittles and insults her husband, seems repulsed by his touch and the kindness he shows her, informs him when she intends to start an affair with another man, and threatens to break things off with her husband on their anniversary. The only time she seems to be able to be affable to Nick is after he suffers some kind of physical pain. Hers is the brittle exterior of a character who can't seem to stand living, the woman who's angriest when she has nothing to be angry about.
By the end, I was baffled that anyone who got to know her would actually choose to marry her, or even stand spending any amount of time in her company. The pair may flirt with parting ways, but as the movie progresses you can guess the end. Meg and Nick have become twisted soul mates, matched because of the crippling inadequacies and insecurities that have held them back and prevented them from reaching the greater heights that they're capable of. Separated, they may have been able to overcome them. Together, they're brought to full bloom.
In the end, “Le Week-End” doesn't make you believe in love; it makes you contemplate the beauty of divorce. The gift of extricating yourself from the toxic grip of The One who cannot be changed, fixed, or even persuaded to show the most basic kindness to the person they manage to love.
When Nick's friend Morgan (or rather, Jeff Goldlum playing Jeff Goldblum) shows up, it's a welcome relief, even when his whiny teenage hipster son remarks on what a drag a weekend in Paris is. What does it say about a movie when Goldblum is the best and sanest thing about it? Really, anyone who doesn't resemble Meg and Nick automatically comes off as better.
The only remotely redeemable factor in “Le Week-End” are Broadbent and Duncan themselves, whose tremendous talent actually makes you believe the history and dynamic between this couple. Because of them, they're not only recognizable, they're believable. They're not bad. They're just written that way.