Friday 20 January 2017

Movie Review: Last Love (2013)

A slow-paced study of relationships among the lonely, Last Love (also known as Mr. Morgan's Last Love) meanders through Paris on a quest to try and make a point, but generally gets lost within the scenery.

In Paris, Matthew Morgan (Michael Caine) is an elderly retired professor, still grieving the passing of his wife Joan (Jane Alexander). Matthew has a strained relationship with his US-based son Miles (Justin Kirk), who appears to be going through marital problems of his own.

On a transit bus Matthew meets local dance instructor Pauline (Clémence Poésy). She is also lonely, and despite a tremendous age difference she takes a liking to the retired professor. They start spending time together, and he comes out of his shell and starts to attend her dance classes. But there are emotional, health and financial complications ahead, with both Miles and his sister Karen (Gillian Anderson) arriving in Paris and questioning Pauline's motives.

An independent production written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck, Last Love is a soft spoken, slow moving adaptation of a French novel. While primarily a study of two lonely souls forging a connection while drifting in the ocean of life, the film rambles from one narrative stream to another.

Starting with a tender winter/spring relationship, themes of grieving, death with dignity, father/son resentment, family legacies and finally an entire other romance creep into the film, and often inelegantly. With story lines melding and the focus shifting lazily, Nettelbeck can't hold Last Love together, and the drama unravels as it arrives at an obvious ending brimming with self-congratulatory symmetry.

With Paris as the setting the film does look elegant, with plenty of outdoor scenes capturing the graceful city. Michael Caine and Clémence Poésy are adequate, but for both the displays of sad loneliness occasionally enlivened by the potential promise of a unique friendship are almost too easy.

Last Love aims for wistful, but achieves wayward.

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