No, it’s not French; it’s very English. A 30-year wedding anniversary in Paris. Memories and reconsideration (perhaps).
“Can I touch you?”
Meg (Lindsay Duncan) gets it. She feels the warmth of nostalgia.
Nick (Jim Broadbent) wants some action, but is more hung up about his life as a once promising writer who dropped the baton decades earlier (“I’m amazed how mediocre I became”). The sadness of broken dreams.
The film is a talkie. Hanif Kureishi has been a star in anyone’s firmament since My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy & Rosie Get Laid.
He needs no introduction and requires no apology. His script is witty and as sharp as shattered glass, exposing the weakness of ever after (“I don’t believe in The One; there are so many Ones”) and the quicksand that is human relations.
Meg and Nick are not so much off the same page as living in parallel universes.
This makes for interesting repartee.
There’s talk of “the self I hide inside myself” and “falling out of a window forever” until they meet an ex-student of Nick’s (Jeff Goldblum) whose success is an insult to intellectual research and whose twentysomething new squeeze makes a mockery of marriage. Now they have someone to hit on rather than beating each other up with acute observations of hypocrisy and failed endeavour.
The performances are memorable and, in Duncan’s case, indelible. She was wasted in About Time. Here, she steals the show.