First—a rousing shout-out to the New York Times: Thanks for bringing movie reviews to a whole new level of hilarity. (Stay tuned, folks!)
This week I review two movie reviews about couples reassessing their relationships, the first in movie theaters, the second lies dormant within your TV: le Weekend and Before Midnight.
I learned of these movies from interviews on NPR.
- On It’s All Things Considered Weekend yesterday they interviewed one of the co-writers of le Week-End, a movie about a couple in their 60s, who, after 30 years of marriage, go away for a weekend in Paris and reassess their relationship: talk about what they need from each other, passionately argue about their resentments toward each other, talk more, blah blah blah... le Weekend stars the venerable stage icons Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan.
This interview did not reveal many spoilers at all. Very impressive.
- The interview reminded me of one I heard on NPR’s Fresh Air about a year ago of the co-writers of Before Midnight, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater (also the stars and the director). Before Midnight is about a couple in their 40s who, after a two-movie relationship, go away for a night and reassess their relationship: talk about what they need from each other, passionately argue about their resentments toward each other, talk more, blah blah blah…. Before Midnight stars the venerable movie icons Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
This interview is replete with spoilers. (Oh how Terry Gross loves to hurl spoilers.)
1. le Week-End
(This movie is British.)
Variety (by Dennis Harvey)
This is what it had to say about it:
This trip reveals both the deep bonds and the equally deep fissures in their relationship.
Spoilers: Fuhgetaboutit. It’s all spoilers.
The Takeaway: “Bittersweet” and “charming,” le Week-End is a product of “keenly intelligent craftsmanship.”
The NY TImes (by A.O.Scott)
The Times, bastion of pretension that it is, needs spoilers to explain its thesis statements, in and of themselves spoilers.
This is what Mr. Scott has to say about it:
“Le Week-End” is thoroughly and unassumingly British, but part of the baggage Nick and Meg carry is a generationally specific, politically tinged Francophilia. [Nic and Meg are the main characters]
Spoilers: Don’t even glance at this review.
Hard to get past the pretension. I’m pretty sure they liked it.
At the very end, I came upon this rating assessment:
“Le Week-End” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Gallic behavior and Anglo-Saxon words.
Hello New York Times, um, what are you trying to say about the French, you Gallic-phobes? And what the bloody hell are Ango-Saxon words, you Ango-saxon phobes?
2. And now….Before Midnight
Variety: (by Justin Chang)
This is how the review begins and is all I could read before the onslaught of spoilers:
One of the great movie romances of the modern era achieves its richest and fullest expression in “Before Midnight.” Exquisite, melancholy, hilarious and cathartic. Richard Linklater’s third walking-and-talking collaboration with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy turns a summer night’s Grecian idyll into a typically digressive and cumulatively overwhelming essay on the joys and frustrations of (spoiler alert!)….
If they’re going to give me that alert, I definitely wasn’t going to read on.
Spoilers: Fuhgetaboutit. It’s all spoilers.
The Takeaway: It’s really, really good.
New York Times (by A.O. Scott)
SOMEBODY SAVE ME:
“Before Midnight,” the third of Richard Linklater’s Aristotelian bulletins from the field of Gen-X solipsism, finds them in Greece, at the end of a summer vacation that has been pleasant, though not entirely carefree….For their Peloponnesian sojourn, they were joined by Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), Jesse’s son from the stateside marriage that conclusively ended when….
Spoilers: This is the beginning of the review from pretension central. I had to stop there but skipped to the last paragraph where most reviews give us the takeaway:
“Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight” are modest, charming movies that together add up to the great romantic epic of a generation defined….
Had to end midsentence before more spoilers.
BUT worse, that was only the end of the page, not the review–there was a whole other left! (I didn’t bother with it.)
The Takeaway: A.O. Scott has a good vocabulary.
I simply had to go to the rating explanation at the end. And it totally delivered! Here goes:
“Before Midnight” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Sex in word and (almost) deed.
Thank you NY TImes, it doesn’t get any better than this.
THE REAL TAKEAWAY:
Grab your spouse or partner, go out to a cafe, set your camera on a tripod (ask the waiter to move the tripod every now and then), and reassess your relationship. ARGUE, LAUGH, CRY and ALMOST DO THE DEED!
Then watch those accolades role in.