Mr. Morgan’s Last Love
Director: Sandra Nettelbeck
Writer: Sandra Nettelbeck
Based on: Françoise Dorner’s novel La Douceur assassine
Cast: Michael Caine, Clémence Poésy, Gillian Anderson, Justin Kirk, Jane Alexander
Matthew Morgan (Michael Caine) just lost his wife (Jane Alexander) of many years. He moved to France for her even though he barely speaks French and now he’s pretty much lost. And then he meets Pauline (Clémence Poésy) by chance, a young dance teacher who practically picks him up like a stray. Their friendship changes both their lives.
I was disappointed by Mr. Morgan’s Last Love. The movie is too sweet, too forseeable and, worst of all, it is too long. The cast wasn’t bad at all, but ultimately they couldn’t save the plot from itself. It’s still watchable, but you won’t miss much if you don’t see it.
Michael Caine was fantastic, particularly when it came to showing Matthew’s pain and loss. When he cries for his wife, you cry with him. I also really enjoyed Clémence Poésy and Gillian Anderson, even though Gillian Anderson’s character was a bit weird. Was she supposed to come off that flirty with her brother? I would have been barely surprised if she’d jumped his bones.
But apart from the cast, the movie fell apart pretty quickly. If it had been shorter, I might have been able to enjoy it more. But as it was this long (and it makes its length felt), it just gave more time to shine a light on the plot issues.
And I did have my issues with it. First of all, I thought that it romanticized suicide a bit too much. People have, of course, the right to decide about their own bodies and if they want to end their life, that’s their business. But it’s a drastic and usually desperate step that is probably best avoided, if possible (often it is avoidable). And it’s not some grand gesture of love that happens after people are actually finished with life.
The other thing that I thought was a little too convenient, smooth and saccharine was the solution of the story. It was telegraphed from miles away and it just had a little too much of everything but realism. That galled the whole thing for me a bit.
Summarizing: ok, but not more.