My son and his partner recently visited the City of Love. As with many like souls who see their future as eternal togetherness, they made the journey to one of the bridges of locks across the Seine. Rich and Shan duly attached their commitment to each other. And now my lad’s beautiful partner is my daughter-in-law to be – to my great delight. And the rite of passage in placing a lock on a Parisian river crossing has a small, but significant, role to play in ‘My Old Lady’.
Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas are two actors who, as they age, have taken on more ‘interesting’ roles, with the result that they’ve become even ‘sexier’. And as for the grand dame, Maggie Smith – well, has she ever been young? Of course, as the real star of the behemoth that is ‘Downton Abbey’, she is in her pomp. She gives any side project, such as this, true pulling power. She is a marvel.
‘My Old Lady’ is basically a three-hander featuring those three thespians – quite a stage-y one, betraying its origins. One assumes at the start that this Israel Horowitz offering will be a droll comedy revolving around a French law that complicates property inheritance. It seems that when destitute, bedraggled Mathias (Kline) discovers he is heir to prime Parisian real estate he reckons all his Christmases have come at once. Thanks to the law, all is not as straight forward as it seems for, with it, comes a non-evictable tenant in nonagenarian Mathilde (Smith). Also in residence is her life-disappointed daughter, Chloe (Scott Thomas). Once the set up is done with, we soon enter darker territory as it emerges their links to each other are much deeper than the trio could possibly imagine. There are bursts of humour throughout to alleviate the downward spiral in tone, the latter thanks to the ever increasing self-loathing of the younger duo. One returns to the bottle, the other gives a lover the flick. Then, a decision has to be made – so enters a bridge of locks and Hollywood pap.
This effort will please those of us who like to leave a cinema with a smile on our faces. There was, though, provision here, given the set up, for a little more straying from the predictable, thus producing a more compelling piece. Still, the movie is time well spent staring up at a silver screen. The three old stagers can do this sort of stuff in their sleep – it is no stretch to their actorly bona fides. Looking at the still beauteous Ms Scott Thomas, I certainly wasn’t disappointed with it.
‘My Old Lady’ trailer = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck35r6E4VRM