Le Week-End follows Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) around Paris as they attempt to reinvigorate their marriage on their 30th wedding anniversary. Although the film’s pace is gradual and its storyline is simplistic towards the start, the narrative that quickly unfolds is dynamic and entertaining. Indeed, Broadbent and Duncan’s vivid portrayal of a marriage at the crossroads is spared monotony thanks to screenwriter Hanif Kureishi’s rations of witty relief.
The audience’s average age is above 50 for this viewing but in truth, the film presents fables that are widely accessible. Except for his self-deprecating, earnest charm, Nick is everything male members of the audience hope they are not: neurotic, self-obsessed, uncharismatic and fat. Needless to say, Broadbent neatly moulds into his character. The peak of the film is his eloquent and heartrending speech at the dinner party of Morgan – an old friend – played by Jeff Goldblum. His monologue is resonant and captivating, sprawled in the viewer’s mind for the remaining final scenes.
The more tense moments between the on-screen couple easily create a sense of unease within the audience as they invite viewers to do a healthy dose of questioning, both of themselves and of their happiness within their relationships. Moreover, reflecting Meg’s realisation that her cravings of excitement and spontaneity cannot be satisfied by her marriage, the film even attempts to question the spectator’s more personal ambitions.
Towards the end, it is clear that the pair are driven together not so much by their guilt for wanting to split but by the lack of a better alternative. Indeed, for all the courting of their unhappiness and Meg’s apparent eagerness to leave Nick, they find themselves a satisfactory, if not uneasy, comfort in their union.