Qu’est-ce que vous regardez le week-end? I stumbled upon this 2013 gem from Film4 during a leisurely Sunday stroll through Netflix, and was pleasantly surprised.
Married couple Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsey Duncan) are on their way to Paris for a weekend of nostalgia to celebrate their anniversary. They’re used to each other and their roles – “You’ve got the Euros” - and hopeful that the trip will present an opportunity to rekindle the fire.
Their illusions are swiftly shattered, though, as their hotel from a previous visit disappoints and a call from their grown-up son brings them back to parent mode. It’s clear that Meg has different ideas about their impending retirement – whilst Nick wants to talk about redecorating the bathroom, she’s dreaming of life in Paris – “Why would anyone want to live anywhere else?”
As Meg and Nick explore the city, spending too much money and attempting to rejuvenate their marriage, new possibilities are opened up and many an old wound picked. When they bump into Nick’s university friend Morgan (Jeff Goldblum on top form), tension and unfinished business builds to a subtly acted climax.
Both Duncan and Broadbent play repressed English dissatisfaction with panache as their relationship dynamic shifts and they finally voice deeply buried feelings. Despite the romantic setting there’s not a hint of cliché and, under the direction of Roger Michell, it’s a sharp but warm lesson in growing old together. As Nick deftly points out, love can be hating someone one minute and adoring them the next – but no matter what, you always want to be by their side.