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Summer Hours(L'Heure d'été)

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France · 2008
1h 40m
Director Olivier Assayas
Starring Charles Berling, Juliette Binoche, Jérémie Renier, Edith Scob
Genre Comedy, Drama, Family

The family matriarch Hélène has dedicated her life to the preservation of all of the works and belongings of her Uncle, a famous painter. When her eldest son wishes to preserve her home in the same way, she refuses. After her death, her children realize how many memories are tied up in objects that are drifting away.

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What are critics saying?


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

In spite of its modest scale, tactful manner and potentially dowdy subject matter, is packed nearly to bursting with rich meaning and deep implication.


USA Today by Claudia Puig

Each character is decent and likable, as well as complex. The four main portrayals are outstanding -- so natural and believable that you are drawn into their story immediately.


Variety by Derek Elley

A family ensembler of utter simplicity, Oliver Assayas' Summer Hours is a salutory (and belated) reminder that, as with his earlier Cold Water and Late August, Early September, some of this writer-director's best work comes in modest packages.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

Too chatty to be ascetic, Summer Hours is nevertheless almost Ozu-like in its evocation of a parent's death and the dissolving bond between the surviving children. It's also an essay on the nature of sentimental and real value--as well as the need to protect French culture in a homogenizing world.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

Summer Hours attracted two of France's acting luminaries, and their presence elevates the material. Charles Berling has the central role; the movie is largely told from his perspective. Juliette Binoche, with blonde hair, has a secondary part.


The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

Its final scene is almost overpoweringly tender and beautiful, offering a hopeful rejoinder to all the prior scenes of family members shedding their shared legacy.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

Writer-director Olivier Assayas crafts a near perfect blend of humor and heartbreak, a lyrical masterwork that measures loss in terms practical and evanescent.


The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett

Assayas makes the point that objects of fascination and affection to one generation may be far less so to the next. And he observes the role that people-friendly museums can play in keeping a nation's treasures safe with pleasing subtlety.

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