Le Weekend is so-called, not because the film is in French, but because Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) are on a romantic weekend away to Paris for their wedding anniversary.
Having travelled via the Eurostar, the first disappointment comes when they arrive at the hotel and discover that it redefines the word ‘dive’. It’s the same place they stayed at many years ago, although when faced with the horror of it’s appearance, Meg comments on how they must’ve redecorated(!)
In fact, Le Weekend is peppered with nice little elements of humour, even when, ultimately, they’ll be at the expense of one or both of the couple, such as when aiming for a better place to stay and ending up in a posh hotel’s suite and being told it’s prestigious because “Tony Blair once slept there”, to which Nick tuts in reply, “Well, I hope they changed the sheets(!)”
These two have clearly been married a very long time and many aspects of their life have become very long in the tooth, and things are not what they once were. They’ve become a habit. This embittered situation comes clear when they’re alone together and Nick suggests: “Can I touch you?”, to which Meg replies coldly, “What for?”
They’re also forever stuck in their ways. For example, whenever they go away, she always chooses lunch, he always chooses dinner. Over the course of the film, we see them trying to retain their long-lost youth while attempting to grow old disgracefully amongst the realisation that they’re in the autumn of their lives, as well as looking at lost chances in life and whether anything can be salvaged as past secrets come out that, perhaps, should’ve stayed buried.
With the addition of Jeff Goldblum giving a worthy performance as Morgan, an old college friend who they chance across during their time in Paris, I could quite happily watch these two together in more films like this, similar to the ‘Before Sunrise‘ trilogy. Le Weekend makes for a fascinating pairing of these two great actors and here’s hoping it leads to further short trips abroad.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and has no defects on the print, looking as stunning as the locations where they film.
And that audio comes in DTS HD 5.1 option. It’s not a special FX film, obviously, but the dialogue and incidental music comes across crystal clear.
The extras on this disc are as follows – most of which are in HD, too. Sadly, none are chaptered:
- Interview with Jim Broadbent & Lindsay Duncan (7:46): The two leads talk about the ease of filming because it was light on equipment and cast so they’d jump in a van and move on to the next place, rather than be stuck in trailers for ages waiting for the next scene to be set up.
- Interview with Hanif Kureishi & Roger Michell (9:15): Roger and Hanif took a weekend out in Paris, 8 years earlier, made a note of everything they did and put all this in the film. They have a pretence, in the interview, that they’re fed up of each other but it’s all playing up for the camera. This made for a very engaging interview.
Oddly, the audio from these interviews leans almost completely towards the left channel. No idea why and it’s not my set-up. Also, the occasional word from the interview comes out of the extreme right.
- Sketchbook (3:20): A silent selection of sketches. It’s like a photo gallery but in sketch form. I’ve never seen this done before in 20 years of reviewing so this is a definite plus! There’s a lot of them and full credit goes to the artist and whoever thought of this idea.
- Behind The Scenes (7:44): No chat, just brief work-in-progress filming of many scenes. Worth a look, but nothing you’ll rush to watch again.
- Le Weekend – Black And White: A curiosity, and something that’s exclusive to Blu-ray, yes, it’s the entire film in black and white. Oddly, subtitles aren’t available for this version. Personally, I’d rather watch the regular version anyway. If the film had been intentionally shot in black and white then it would’ve been a different matter. Makes for something different, though.
- Audio commentary: with director Roger Michell.
The menu features clips of the film set to the main theme, playing in the background. Subtitles are in English only and when it comes to the chaptering, I feel one should come every five minutes on average. Curzon, like many other distributors, go for a low 12 however long the film. I would like them to increase this number.
Running time: 98 minutes
Released: February 10th 2014
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Roger Michell
Producer: Kevin Loader
Screenplay: Hanif Kureishi
Music: Jeremy Sams
Nick: Jim Broadbent
Meg: Lindsay Duncan
Morgan: Jeff Goldblum
Michael: Olly Alexander
Eve: Judith Davis
Jean-Pierre: Xavier De Guillebon
Robert: Brice Beaugier
Dominique: Charlotte Leo
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.