Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Fascinating movie. Solid dialogue, well-acted, and building tension. First Assayas film seen is a major success. Unique characters, a bit of art world info, and a fast pace in a slow movie make for a great watch.
If it were possible to give a six star rating, I would do so with Summer Hours. What a beautiful film - from the opening scene with the carefree grandchildren of Helene (Edith Scrob) running through the gardens, through the death of Helene, and the subtle, moving struggles of her three children deciding how to hold on to their past while living very different lives in the present -- through the end, with the spirited music of the grandchildren's generation playing as the final credits roll. Juliette Binoche is delightfully edgy and beautiful. The younger brother (Jeremie Renier, so riveting in The Child), is caring, egocentric, and quietly assertive. The older brother (Charles Berling) and his wife (Dominique Reymond) center the film, with their desire to maintain the family home conflicting with the desires of the two younger siblings and their own recognition of the difficult financial and familial responsibilities. Above all, the film is intelligent! Everyone is complete; no one is a caricature. The characters are conflicted, wise, foolish, kind, resentful, self-centered, loving. If a friend has never seen a contemporary French film, and you want them to receive a substantial and compelling introduction, this is the film. If you already appreciate French cinema and you love being transported to a beautiful, summery world of adult conflicts and simple joys, this is a film to watch. The subtle glances, the unspoken dialog, the distractions of work, the difficulties of being in the middle of two generations all depend on knowledge of adult relationships. The viewer participates in the film, feeling the complicated emotions. This is a remarkable film.
The most complete and satisfying of all the movies Assayas has directed.
Three adult children of Frederic (Charles Berling), Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) and their children visit their mother for the very last time at their childhood home where they all grew up. When the mother dies, they would then discuss how to divide up the house as well as the priceless property since only the eldest, Frederic lives nearby whereas his sister Adrienne lives in the US and his youngest brother is going to live overseas with connections to China.
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.
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.
beautiful. Remains sometimes makes me tired. And death is also a part of life.
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!
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.
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.
A moving film with a spectacular performance from Juliette Binoche.