In spite of its modest scale, tactful manner and potentially dowdy subject matter, is packed nearly to bursting with rich meaning and deep implication.
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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.
Hats off to Olivier Assayas's plain yet hauntingly beautiful Summer Hours, a true--albeit nonsecular--meditation on art and eternal life.
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.
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.
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.
Brims with life and loveliness even as it meditates on the loss of childhood.
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.
Writer-director Olivier Assayas crafts a near perfect blend of humor and heartbreak, a lyrical masterwork that measures loss in terms practical and evanescent.
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.