Elitists often pooh-pooh Hollywood movies and laud the quality of world movies – well, unfortunately there are also mediocre world movies, as well as brilliant ones. I watched my first movie out of the five that I selected for the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2009 – Summer Hours (L’heure d’été). I was intrigued by it because it has Juliette Binoche – she is one actress that I find very charming.
The movie is about three siblings: Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), Frédéric (Charles Berling), and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) who have to deal with their late mother’s estate after she passes away. Should they keep the house and hang on to their childhood memory? What would happen to the sibling relationship, especially since all three live in different parts of the world?
Whilst I find the subject of the movie interesting, the movie doesn’t have enough emotional hooks to get me reeled in successfuly. It does charm me with its frenchness – the sceneries make me long to be back in Europe, but it doesn’t engage me enough. The pace is gentle but steady – it managed to keep my attention even though I did get impatient from time to time. Emotionally however, the movie is really uneven. It’s as if the emotional cues were strewn all over the place and you have to assemble them and try to ascertain what the director (Olivier Assayas) wants you to feel. I find the ending really unusual and superfluous as well. The director wastes the chance to wrap the movie nicely. While I don’t like the way most American movies tie everything too neatly at the end, I don’t like movies that leave you feeling meaninglessly puzzled.
So, unfortunately for this one, I’ll only give it 3/6.