REVIEW: My Old Lady
MY OLD LADY
ATLANTIC FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | SEPTEMBER 15
Another Play-to-Film to grace the Atlantic Film Festival, My Old Lady cannot shake off it's theatrical nature and fails to fully utilize all the possibilities cinematography and Paris can offer.
My Old Lady tells the story of two 57 year old children: Matthias Gold (Kevin Kline), and Chloé Girard (Kristin Scott Thomas). The two children struggle with very adult problems, though seem to emerged unscathed in ways only children do.
Overseeing all this is Chloé's 92 year old mother Mathilde Girard (Maggie Smith). Madame Girard's youthful indiscretions with Matthias Gold's father brought sorrow on both their spouses and weighed heavily on their children (Matthias and Cholé) growing up. Ultimately a story about generations and hereditary relations, My Old Lady was promising in a loving and tender start which went bust like a Chinese railway project. Looks good, but it's not sturdy.
The film begins as Matthias Gold arrives in Paris to the one arrangement his estranged father has left him: a viager; an old french real estate agreement. The apartment, which he intended to sell, comes with an old lady and her daughter: Mathilde Girard and Chloé. Until Mathilde's dies, Matthias must pay her 2400 euros a month and cannot sell the apartment. Broke and banking his last dollar on the sale of this property, Matthias uses every trick in the book and more in attempts to get the apartment off his hands.
After a series of blackmail, heartless limp threats, and careless moves to sell the apartment to a developer by Matthias, Matthias and Chloé bond over shared childhood traumas. And then they make out. And the audience cannot help but want to scream Stop! The love story was unsupported by who the characters were set up to be, the plot folding into a Hollywood formula.
Overall a good movie - until they make out. And then it just got weird and rushed as the developer sub-plot disappeared without resolve, Chloé is suddenly happy and fulfilled because she has a man in her life, Matthias remains broke but suddenly unworried, and Mathilde smiles as her daughter and her lover's son grope in the backyard.