I found it impossible to roll with Roger Michel‘s Le Week-End (Music Box, 3.14), which I saw early last September at the Toronto Film Festival. Mainly because I don’t want to know about a doddering, bespectacled and bewhiskered Jim Broadbent, playing a 60ish academic type, rekindling romantic fires with his wife of many decades (Lindsay Duncan). And I don’t mean the emotional aspect. Duncan is quietly attractive in a getting-on sort of way. I can imagine her having some kind of love life in some other situation, but I never want to even think about Broadbent in any kind of husband/lover/sexual context, ever.
Pokey, comfort-shoe-wearing men of Broadbent’s age are free to show love, write poetry, play guitar in a garage band, run for Congress, compete in marathons, go to cooking school in Italy and pursue happiness any way they can, but I don’t want to watch them in any sort of aroused or tumescent state, okay? Just leave me out of it. Thank you.
On top of which I can’t stand that dopey, vaguely overwhelmed, open-mouthed expression Broadbent uses throughout Le Week-End. Those big magnified eyes staring out at our swirling, fast-paced 21st Century world….”duhhh, well…I suppose I’m not quite comprehending,” etc. If you’re older, adopt the look of a British secret agent in East Germany in the early ’60s and close your fucking yap and keep it closed. Plus I hate the sight of older guys shuffling around with white hipster beards. GQ man-stubble works for younger guys and salt-and-pepper types, but when geezers stop shaving they look like skid-row winos.
Broadbent and Duncan’s costar Jeff Goldblum (who’s about three years younger than Broadbent and a year younger than Duncan) knows how to do “older.” He’s cool; Broadbent doesn’t come within a mile of it.
And why is weekend hyphenated in the title? What’s that about, Le Week-End? Nobody does that.