Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Permission to Mount

Love is the only interesting thing. It's far more difficult than sex.

When you've had a long three days - sore hamstrings, insufficient sleep, a packed schedule - there is no distraction quite like a British comedy and popcorn for dinner with a girlfriend.

Well, perhaps a weekend away with a boyfriend, but that seemed unlikely on a Tuesday night, so I invited Pru to join me for "Le Week-End," a bittersweet romantic comedy (drama?) at the Westhampton.

Given the nearly 80-degree weather, the patio at the Continental next door to the theater was mobbed with people quaffing a bevvy and talking loudly to each other.

Clearly, the goal of most people today was to enjoy the fine weather, while Pru and I closeted ourselves away indoors with maybe eight others for a film that unfolded like a series of life events more than a film.

Her: You make my blood boil like no one else.
Him: That's the sign of a deep and true connection.

The film was set in Paris where a Birmingham, England couple married for 30 years take a long weekend to celebrate their anniversary and/or end their marriage. The jury seems to be out on which one they'll do.

In terms of visuals, the film was beautiful, showing Paris as a place of grand hotels with flowering window boxes, close-up views of the twinkling lights on the Eiffel Tower at night and a series of bistros and cafes with chefs fileting fish and shucking oysters in front windows to tempt passers by.

You'll be sorry that you never loved me enough.

The acting was superb with Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan conveying middle-aged people not satisfied with the status quo.

Experienced enough to realize the importance of having been together for 30 years but still adventurous enough to consider trying something different if it'll make them happier, the film struck a balance between what was and what might be.

Would it be okay for me to bravely mount you?

Besides terrific performances, the script was spot on, completely believable in how long-time couples can pick at each other and still be very much in love. Kind of like my parents twenty years ago. Or now, with more wrinkles.

At every turn, I was never sure what might happen next and found myself continually surprised at how this couple handled playing tourist, going to a party of strangers hosted by the reliably hilarious and handsome Jeff Goldblum (as an American in Paris) and dealing with each other when others intrude on their lives.

These days a man still wanting to make love to his wife is practically a far-out perversion.

Part of the film's appeal is the recollections of their youth, the '60s and '70s, when idealism still ruled their choices and they hadn't let the burden of life crush their spirits.

And yet, both know deep down that everything is still achievable. He wants to write a book, she wants to be a painter and dance more. He wants more sex, she wants more romance.

Pru and I agreed in our post-movie discussion that the beauty of "Le Week-End" was how vividly it depicted the challenges of middle-aged romance, a far cry from starry-eyed relationships of youth, but not without its own kind of optimism.

Mistakes made mean lessons learned and potential for relationship successes that weren't possible earlier.

Him: People don't change
Her: They do, they get worse.

Maybe that's true, but how else do old dogs learn new tricks? All I'm saying is, in my experience, old dogs can be very sweet.

Try me again and I promise I'll be more fun this time.

Tonight, just what I needed.

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