A Lone Bad Review of Summer Hours

Summer Hours, a French film with Juliette Binoche, just opened in New York city and made a bit of a stir on some art blogs for wrapping a Corot in bubble wrap. The synopsis sounded charming, and I did the unthinkable a watched two films in a week, this time after paying $12.50 (!) for a ticket.

$12.50 did not quite buy me the charming, artsy French film I was expecting. The idea is that three siblings are left to divvy up the inheritance of a house and art collection upon their mother’s passing. The film built up well but it didn’t resolve at all–when the credits came on, I was surprised and most unsatisfied. Whatever happened to good old build up-conflict-resolution cycles? Aside from the beginning of the film before the mother dies, and the character of the housekeeper throughout, I felt like the story telling became an unravelling of separate pieces of thread with no end. So the director abruptly cuts the thread.

I’ve checked. I’m the only person on the Internet who left nonplussed. This film got a rave review in the NY Times and most everywhere else, has the lovely Juliet Binoche, and was sponsored by the Musee D’Orsay who let it use some of its works of art. (In return for funding the film, the Musee only asked to be included in the film in some way, which is an interesting concept.)

So maybe you shouldn’t take my word for it. The treatment of the adult children and the decisions left to them is matter of fact and unsentimental, and the wisteria is indeed lovely. That’s worth something.

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