Wednesday, January 18, 2023

French Movie Mercredi: Late August, Early September (1998)


Fin Août, Début Septembre (1998). Directed by Olivier Assayas and starring Mathieu Almaric, Jeanne Balabar and Virginie Ledoyen.

Late August, Early September is a moody French relationship melodrama from 1998, about growing up and growing older, and a group of friends making the transition from youth to middle age and from one relationship to another etc.

Directed by Olivier Assayas, master of such films, and starring Mathieu Almaric and Jeanne Balabar as Gabriel and Jenny, a couple splitting up and moving on, it's talky and immersive. When the movie opens Gabriel and Jenny are selling the apartment they shared for a number of years. Gabriel is seeing Anne (Virginie Ledoyen) a younger sexpot version of Jenny and he seems to be at a crossroads with the two women. Jenny still means a lot to him but he's clearly besotted with Anne at the same time. Alongside this threesome is François Cluzet as their friend Adrien, a struggling author with health problems and a burgeoning romance with a teenager that he's keeping a secret.

I liked this movie a lot. I think it qualifies as a Sunday morning since the adult content is pretty minimal (one somewhat edgy sex scene) and the relationship between Adrien and his young girlfriend Véra is kept out of the bedroom. Anyway it's a thoughtful drama, not too heavy but filled with nuance and acting that brings out the subtle relationships between all of these people and the various characters circling around them.  I'm a big fan of Assayas in general and I think this is a pretty solid drama for adults that will make you feel things if not think too too much.

It's available currently on HBOMax.

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