Summer Hours (12A)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jul 15 2008

In the pleasingly rambling garden of a country house north of Paris, lecturer Frédéric (Charles Berling), New York-based designer Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier), who toils profitably for a French sportswear company in Beijing, are gathered with partners and kids for a lunch to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of their widowed mother Hélène (Edith Scob). She’s the proudly independent and protective keeper of the flame – and the valuable collected belongings – of her late uncle, a well-known artist, so when, months later, Hélène herself dies, the three siblings come together once more to decide what to do with the house, its coveted contents, and Hélène’s faithful housekeeper Eloise…

Assayas’s most fully satisfying film for some while, this is a warm, wise drama about the tensions and mysteries of family life. With a seemingly loose but meticulously assembled narrative in the style of his earlier ensemble piece ‘Late August, Early September’, it chronicles the interactions between the various characters with psychological subtlety and precision, even as it explores the changing roles played by art, property, work and blood-ties in an increasingly globalised world.

While never ignoring the grief death causes, Assayas refuses to sentimentalise;
it’s a film of deft, delicate nuances, particularly alert to the fact that everyone has not only his/her reasons but also, inevitably, secrets that will be borne to the grave. Perhaps the characters are finally a little too uniformly decent, but it would be churlish to bemoan the generosity of spirit in a film so beautifully performed, intelligently written and fluently directed.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Jul 18, 2008

Duration:

103 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Olivier Assayas

Screenwriter:

Olivier Assayas

Cast:

Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jérémie Rénier

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|6
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karlheger

A moving and realistic portrait of the changes time brings to us all. Beautiful, serene and thought provoking.

karlheger

A moving and realistic portrait of the changes time brings to us all. Beautiful, serene and thought provoking.

Andrea

Douglas, you are SO right! This was the French version of the hipster, pseudo-profundity that America has been spewing out in the last decade or so and I'm very disappointed to see that France is following suit. I'm so incredibly sick of the praise being lauded on films like "Rachel Getting Married" and "Squid and Whale"- they all have great premise and then go exactly nowhere with their boring ramblings and attempts at substance. ICK!

Douglas

I didn't see the magic in this. In fact I was left scratching my head and on the way out of the theater, I overheard a very old woman talking to her companion say "I didn't think it was all that interesting." Amen, sister. Dull, slow moving, nothing of any interest or even much depth happening here. This film was more of an intellectual exercise and less about character development or storyline. As I was watching this film I couldn't help but mentally compare it to two episodes from the first season of Spelling-Goldberg's mid-70's television series "Family" starring Sada Thompson. One episode about the Christening of Nancy's son who has been given the name of Timmy, the same name of the fourth child of the Lawrence's who had died many years previously. The other episode I was reminded of was when Kate's mother came to visit before she died to say goodbye to her family. Both of these episodes offered a great deal more dramatic tension and true exploration of the complicated feelings surrounding such a traumatic transition. But this film doesn't plumb those depths and offers really nothing of any depth. Much like the materialistic obsession of the deceased mother, this film is all about surfaces of life and uses it's characters and situation to explore "LARGER IDEAS." Fine. Explore your ideas, but where does that leave me as a film-goer? Mainly feeling disconnected from the characters and ultimately disinterested. No emotional resonance here. I could have stayed home and watched another episode from the wonderful first and second seasons of "Family" - available on DVD! I give it one star because I appreciated that the subtitles were easy to read. Nice job!

Fleur

A refreshingly quiet, thoughtful and delicate film. Themes are beuatifully illustrated: the value of objects, the impossibility of holding onto the past and keeping things unchanged, grief...sibling affection conquering greed... An egrossing nonaction movie.

Fleur

A refreshingly quiet, thoughtful and delicate film. Themes are beuatifully illustrated: the value of objects, the impossibility of holding onto the past and keeping things unchanged, grief...sibling affection conquering greed... An egrossing nonaction movie.