Overseas holidays often serve as impetus to examine one’s life, to recognise and ponder the crossroads you stand at. Roger Michell and Hanif Kureishi’s Le Week-End instead finds Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent), in Paris for their thirtieth wedding anniversary, at a roundabout. Much like tourists encircling the famous l’arc de triomphe, they consider their options – to rekindle their marriage, to divorce, to move forward or to move backwards – but are stuck in the same loop.
Le Week-End is an older spiritual cousin to Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, except where Jesse and Celine’s conversations spiralled into seeming eternity, Meg and Nick undercut each other with such consistency that their exchanges rarely last very long. This film lacks the pensive poetry of that trilogy, but don’t mistake it for the breezy feel-good comedy as presented by its advertisements. This is a caustic film, stripping away the patina of fantasy that colours most such “holiday” films. Certainly it has its moments of lightness – the couple fleeing from an expensive restaurant, a drowsy recreation of the dance from Bande à Part with Jeff Goldblum – but more often it confronts a world where actions have consequences, and fancy hotels have expensive bills.