L’heure d’été [Summer Hours] (2008)

L’heure d’été
Director: Olivier Assayas
Writer: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Charles Berling, Juliette Binoche, Jérémie Renier, Edith Scob

Hélène (Edith Scob) is celebrating her birthday with her kids Frédéric (Charles Berling), Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) and their respective families. Since Hélène knows that she’s getting older, thoughts of succession and heritage are not far from her mind. Especially since she has devoted her entire life to her uncle’s legacy who was a famous artist. Her kids would rather not talk about it though. It is only after Hélène’s death that they really start to come to terms with it.

Summer Hours was beautifully shot, very well acted, had wonderful art in it and I can appreciate it. But it was also way too long and so very boring and I just wanted things to happen every once in a while. I missed a plot.

There are many wonderful actors in this film. Juliette Binoche is great, though she gets the least screentime of the siblings and I just wanted to see more of her. Jérémie Renier and Charles Berling are good, too and I especially liked the three of them together. The dynamic between the siblings just worked perfectly.

But the real star of the film was the art. They apparently got the actual pieces on loan from (mostly) the Musée d’Orsay – there was some beautiful furniture, paintings and vases, and two absolutely stunning decorative plaques by by Odilon Redon. If I ever get obscenely rich, those will probably one of the first things I buy. Just wow.

But Olivier Assayas is a rambler, at least judging by this film and by Demonlover (which are the only two movies I’ve seen by him). He gets sidetracked, he lets things run too long and personally, I am just not good with rambling. I want things to be straight and get to the point already.

And so the film kept losing me. It also kept pulling me back in, with its warmth and its sense of humor but ultimately this up and down was too frustrating to be really enjoyable.

Summarising: Not my cup of tea.

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