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Film Review: “My Old Lady” (2014)


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Directed by: Israel Horovitz

Written by: Israel Horovitz (play)

Canada Distributor: D Films

Starring: Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Michael Burstin, Elie Wajeman, Dominique Pinon, Noémie Lvovsky

A man, who has lost all the hope in his miserable life, is given one last chance to get back on his own two feet. His problems and unexpected life-changing circumstances lead him all the way from New York to Paris. Nothing but long-awaited happiness is waiting for him there.

Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) inherits a glorious apartment in the heart of Paris from his father. This seemingly means that all of his financial problems are finally going to be solved and all his debts – paid. However, he finds out that the apartment is not the only thing he inherits from his estranged father: an elderly contractor – a 94 year old lady – Mathilde (Maggie Smith), who has no intention of leaving this world for another, comes in a package-deal with the apartment.

Gold’s life is unfortunate and full of problems. He has no money left after his third divorce; his father has never loved him the way he expected; his mother committed suicide when Mathias was a young boy. He could never understand the reason why his beloved mother would do such an inexplicable act. And now, Mathias Gold is left with nothing but burned ashes of his past. He tries to pick up the pieces of his life after he inherits a gorgeous apartment, which comes to him with such an undesirable and unavoidable living bonus. Although in the beginning Mathias is not at all happy about the elderly tenant in his inherited house, his disappointment and frustration disappear as soon as he starts realizing that this charming lady is someone, who shares more things in common with him than he could have ever imagined.

MY-OLD-LADY

“My Old Lady” is based on Israel Horovitz’s own play, which is now hitting theater stages as well. He is an author of more than 50 plays (some of which have been translated to as many as 30 languages) and more than 16 scripts (more TV movies).

As director Horovitz has two films so far. He debuted in 2002 with “3 Weeks after Paradise”. And now, more than a decade later – “My Old Lady” – a ravishing film which perfectly demonstrates one of his key abilities to structure the story and build flawless dialogues. The above mentioned combined with such a cast as Kline-Smith-Thomas working in tandem (where Kristin Scott Thomas plays Mathilde’s daughter – Chloé), is a rare thing to see in contemporary films. Horovitz’s story is touching, unique and sad at the same time. Although the film has the power of making the viewers feel heavy with sorrow for the characters or making them cry in the end, it is rather a story about the importance of being who you really are and learning to deal with your own disturbing past, which could otherwise haunt you till the end of your days.

In conclusion, “My Old Lady” is a very well told classy story of people, who live in the heart of Paris. The dialogue in “My Old Lady” is marvelous, profound and wise. The performance of the cast is simply great- as it should be. The style of the film and the characters is very open and charismatic. Each of the main characters has their own ‘skeletons in the closet’, but despite that, they do not try to hide them. “My Old Lady” is a must see for every film lover. It reminds us the recipe of how films should be made – with smart and astonishing dialogue, which probably we haven’t been witnessing that often in a long time.

 

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