L'Heure d'été (Summer Hours) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

L'Heure d'été (Summer Hours) Reviews

Page 1 of 21
½ September 24, 2017
The movie opens with Helene's 75th birthday and her three children (with spouses) and grandchildren are gathered at the country estate, about an hour from Paris by train. Helene (played by Edith Scob, from Eyes Without A Face) is an art collector, or more specifically, the guardian of the art treasures of her uncle, a famous painter long deceased. The atmosphere is relaxed but a little wistful and Helene wants to talk about her will with her oldest son (played by Charles Berling) who is reluctant. Later, after Helene has passed, the three children (including Juliette Binoche as the daughter) discuss what to do with the house, the artworks, the memories. It is melancholy but real, not difficult, manageable -- but existential. A museum is contacted and a bequest is made. Director Olivier Assayas is interested in these people but also in the stuff in which time and energy and love have been devoted. There is a real sense of place and we as viewers also grow comfortable in the estate and feel a bit mournful as it is packed up. But after all, it is just stuff and Assayas seems to know this (or he is willing to contemplate it). Two out of three siblings have left France and their lives are elsewhere (as globalisation takes hold). Then, there is a shift to the younger generation, living their lives, building new memories perhaps, instilling their will and emotions into objects, places, music, and more. All that will later dissipate. But the film is so alive that it makes it all seem worth it nevertheless.
June 18, 2017
I loved this movie. With great performances, Olivier brings to life so many common scenes on any family. It made me nostalgic in a way. The lunch. The laughs. The sitting together. The house. The detergents in the kitchen. And then how they stayed strong and united after the money decisions.
½ April 2, 2016
beautiful. Remains sometimes makes me tired. And death is also a part of life.
½ January 28, 2016
While some may label Olivier Assayas as a surrealist, his films really come out through the more palpable and human elements, and Summer Hours may be the best representation of this. A slice-of-life family drama with a very Rohmer-esque disposition, Summer Hours is a quiet film with a modest look, yet the most complex of themes. Tackling issues such as globalization, modernism, art, generational gaps, and the inevitability of change, Summer Hours is rich in subtext, and sports a well-adjusted narrative that fits all the material in a way thas compact and never heavy-handed. Also, if you feel the movie isn't working for you while watching it, give it 15 minutes of thought after its finished. I guarantee it'll hit you then!
August 4, 2015
Olivier Assayas' film is as much a study of how ideals, value and valuables change over the span of a human life as it is a study of wealthy family. As the grown children of a recently deceased mother, they are forced to negotiate and settle on how to proceed. But no one can know what the future holds --- or what it will mean later in life.
½ September 7, 2014
A friend asked me what this film was about and I told her it was sort of about art, family and an inheritance that means different things to each member of the family. But, that is a very surface plot summary. There is much more going on in this true gem of a film. Masterful work.
September 4, 2014
A moving film with a spectacular performance from Juliette Binoche.
July 17, 2014
A perfectly bland, comfy but nonessential archetype of a low-key French family drama. Famous actors play the parts of aging siblings who need to divide their mother's possessions after her death.

Oliver Assayas has seemed to take the easy way out. His films are often not the most dramatic, but there tends to be unique flavor and wit to them that seem sadle absent here.

The flick tries to hide subtle meanings behind all the non-drama, but either hides most of it too well or then is a bit clumsy in the act. This didn't really carry any weight, even for someone who has been in the depicted situation himself.
½ June 15, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

This is a wonderful film that speaks about the importance of art, and what it means to a person in an intimate level. It is only when art is in our possession and had the opportunity to live with it, that we truly are able to appreciate it and create our own interpretation on it. When going to the museum or gallery to observe art, no matter what form it is, the connection with it is never as deep as the ones who made it or have been in the presence of it during all their lives. This film helped me open my eyes to that and how truly important art is in a familial level.

The film also explores the idea that children would eventually grow up and have their own lives and responsibilities, which would then affect their ability to spend more time with their parents, and I found this to be truly heartbreaking because I have seen things like this happen in families, and it is not that the child doesn't want to go back and visit or help but it's because they have others who depend on them which would tie them down, no matter how much their love for the parents are. It's even more heartbreaking because I know within myself that this would be inevitable, and that my responsibilities would be elsewhere. Sometimes it's not about children sending money to their parents in order for them to get by, but it's the warmth of company that they want, to be with them just before they pass.

The film's cinematography and music cues were great, truly making the film's motionless story and low amount of elevated tension seem interesting. Just scenes of chatter between the siblings were fun to watch, and the camera captures it in a way that has the audience feel as emotionally charged and involved as the characters.

The film's acting was marvellous, featuring strong performances from all of its leads. Edith Scob was only in the film roughly around 20-25 minutes but she stole the show with each moment she was in, she was able to project this sense of understanding that tragedy would come to her very soon and she was able to show so much of herself and her perspective of her children during a scene where she sits alone with the blue light from the moon gazing upon her. Charles Berling as Frederic was the film's main protagonist after Edith Scob's character passes away, and he does a great job in carrying the film's emotional core. He was able to give many shades of the character, experience a range of emotions after his mother's death, and he delivers this in ways that doesn't feel contrived. Juliette Binoche as Adrienne was also great to watch here but since her character isn't as focused as Berling's character then she does come out in the end as a bit overshadowed. This wouldn't be the film I would go to in telling others of her wonderful talent as an actress, I would instead use films like Blue and Certified Copy. Jeremie Renier was also pleasing to watch but like Binoche his role was a bit overshadowed and felt more like a support in elevating the performances of the other actors in the scene.

Summer Hours is a near perfect film that explores art and family in an effective way. It was able to let me reflect on my own personal feelings about family and how my vision of my future would impact the people around me, particularly my parents and sibling. This is definitely something I could see myself coming back to time and time again in the future.
½ June 15, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

This is a wonderful film that speaks about the importance of art, and what it means to a person in an intimate level. It is only when art is in our possession and had the opportunity to live with it, that we truly are able to appreciate it and create our own interpretation on it. When going to the museum or gallery to observe art, no matter what form it is, the connection with it is never as deep as the ones who made it or have been in the presence of it during all their lives. This film helped me open my eyes to that and how truly important art is in a familial level.

The film also explores the idea that children would eventually grow up and have their own lives and responsibilities, which would then affect their ability to spend more time with their parents, and I found this to be truly heartbreaking because I have seen things like this happen in families, and it is not that the child doesn't want to go back and visit or help but it's because they have others who depend on them which would tie them down, no matter how much their love for the parents are. It's even more heartbreaking because I know within myself that this would be inevitable, and that my responsibilities would be elsewhere. Sometimes it's not about children sending money to their parents in order for them to get by, but it's the warmth of company that they want, to be with them just before they pass.

The film's cinematography and music cues were great, truly making the film's motionless story and low amount of elevated tension seem interesting. Just scenes of chatter between the siblings were fun to watch, and the camera captures it in a way that has the audience feel as emotionally charged and involved as the characters.

The film's acting was marvellous, featuring strong performances from all of its leads. Edith Scob was only in the film roughly around 20-25 minutes but she stole the show with each moment she was in, she was able to project this sense of understanding that tragedy would come to her very soon and she was able to show so much of herself and her perspective of her children during a scene where she sits alone with the blue light from the moon gazing upon her. Charles Berling as Frederic was the film's main protagonist after Edith Scob's character passes away, and he does a great job in carrying the film's emotional core. He was able to give many shades of the character, experience a range of emotions after his mother's death, and he delivers this in ways that doesn't feel contrived. Juliette Binoche as Adrienne was also great to watch here but since her character isn't as focused as Berling's character then she does come out in the end as a bit overshadowed. This wouldn't be the film I would go to in telling others of her wonderful talent as an actress, I would instead use films like Blue and Certified Copy. Jeremie Renier was also pleasing to watch but like Binoche his role was a bit overshadowed and felt more like a support in elevating the performances of the other actors in the scene.

Summer Hours is a near perfect film that explores art and family in an effective way. It was able to let me reflect on my own personal feelings about family and how my vision of my future would impact the people around me, particularly my parents and sibling. This is definitely something I could see myself coming back to time and time again in the future.
May 20, 2014
WEIRD French movie that was disjointed and odd and confusing. Probably the first French film I have watched that I did not love. So very strange. Even Juliette Binoche cannot save this movie.
January 24, 2014
Phenomenal drama about real people instead of the unreal things that usually happen to people in the movies. The characters are observed like objects in a museum which, given the subject matter, is inspired.
November 16, 2013
In this film we learn what the middle classes are up to these days. Not that much it seems, although the sentiments expressed about the loss of memories and the passing of time are put together with sensitivity and nuance. Binoche plays somebody much younger than herself and that is a bit weird, but Berling is very good as usual. Assayas is one of those incredibly frustrating directors, promising a lot each time but always coming up a bit short (see: Carlos the Jackal, Clean, etc.).
August 22, 2013
I am going to pass on this.
June 3, 2013
My only previous Assayas' approach is Maggie Cheung's Cannes BEST ACTRESS nabbing feature CLEAN (2004, 7/10), and for most Chinese media, Assayas seems to alway been in an ill-fated personage as Maggie's ex-husband. But his works matures splendidly with finesse and sobriety (from CLEAN to SUMMER HOURS), the latter resounds a similar pace of meditation and quietude as Hirokazu Koreeda's STILL WALKING (2008, 8/10), tackles with a slice of family life, with a contemplation towards the domestic heredity, globalized opportunism, alienated generations and art conservation.

In dealing with a sentimental demise of a bourgeoise matriarch, who resides in a suburban villa near Paris with all her uncle's art menagerie and his worthwhile sketching books (apparently he was a renowned painter himself and an unspeakable family secret), Assayas infills an indefatigable stamina to keep all the delicate matters in a civil restraint, the contradiction abounds among three siblings in regard to keep or sell the villa; and the proceedings of donating valuable art pieces has also been a bumpy road; for the elder son, he also has teenage children to worry about, and last but not the least, his abiding remembrance of the past is the most poignant blow to one who can fit into his shoes under the circumstances.

The show has never been slid into a thespians' melodrama notwithstanding the fact that its indulgence of a top-billing Gallic cast, a blonde Binoche incarnates a very light-touch casualness as the metropolitan daughter, living in USA and dedicates herself more in bringing the work of art abroad for the international exposure; Renier, the younger son, finds both an opportunity in settling down in China and an exigent situation in which the profit of selling the villa couldn't come as timely as possible. While these two are soon-to-be-goners, without a pinch yearning for their homeland, the liability all falls on the elder brother (Berling), whose true-to-life embodiment of his character anchors the film's backbone in a concrete formality, it is a prickly situation will come about to anyone eventually. Edith Scob, as the deceased mother, whose first 30-minutes appearance contrives to establish herself as an indomitable shadow encroached by the past, when she is gone, something else will be taken with her together and forever, Scob is pitch perfect in her role's demanding of the physical infirmity, an unswerving mind of knowing her time is up and the duty as a bequeather.

I have not conceal my preference to this quiet, reflective lifelike imitation than other more grandstanding razzle-dazzle, it is a simple film with a concise message delivered eloquently by the mastery of Assayas who auspiciously shoulders on the privilege of an auteur not only in the French terrain, but also as an international landmark, like many of his precedent compatriots.
April 21, 2013
wow. that sounds so cr*p
March 5, 2013
A subtle beauty. I really enjoyed this film. I love how we interpret art. Is art better in a museum or in a home? I don't know. The sculpture that was broken and left under the sink was restored and is better in the hands of art curators. On the other hand, a desk in a museum is just for viewing.
½ December 22, 2012
Subtle, Elegant and most importantly carries fragrant flowers of honest and complex emotions which are quite well placed...
½ December 20, 2012
"L'Heure d'ete" was a bit slow for my taste. I love Juliette Binoche and Edith Scob had some nice delivery of her dialogue, but it honestly took over three hours to get through this film because I kept falling asleep. The story is interesting as it shows how the lives of three children went in completely opposite directions and how their perspectives on dividing up their deceased mother's estate are completely different depending on their personal circumstances. I liked all of the references to art but feel that the art aspect was underplayed. "L'Heure d'ete" has some interesting content but for me, it fell flat as a whole.
December 19, 2012
Definitely a good watch for those looking for how to handle the ordeal of the death of a parent maturely and with love... a serious movie with a touch of humor and a decent balance of reality and idealism.
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