Summer Hours (L’Heure d’ete)

28 04 2011

Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 min.
Rotten Tomatoes: 7.8/10, 93%

I was not sure what to expect from Summer Hours. It was not abstract or festive like some French films. It is instead one of those movies you could easily brush away as having no true plot line or riveting events. But don’t dismiss the movie so easily. Summer Hours is graceful in its subtleties and intriguing in its simplicity.

The story of three children who must decide how to divide up their mother’s estate probably makes more of an impression on the older audience members than on the young as it focuses on legacies their importance or lack thereof to future generations. Those younger viewers, however, are not left out. The director Olivier Assayas accurately describes how even the most seemingly uninterested grandchildren can find great value in memories and memorabilia. And perhaps those who have the most at stake too often dismiss those memories as irrelevant things of the past.

It takes a close eye to see the beauty in l’Heure d’ete–just as it takes a discerning soul to see the beauty when summer seems to have passed to a colder season.

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