L’Heure d’été(Summer Hours) * 7.6/10

 

I’m glad that L’Heure d’été is the second movie that I see in the first day of 2012(the first one is the hilarious cult classic This is Spinal Stap) and the first movie that I reviewed in this blog.  Its a sweet movie to start the last year of humankind existence. L’Heure d’été is a rare beautiful sublime take on a delicate family dilemma. To sum everything that’s in the movie, its a very French-Beautiful to gaze at, with extremely sophisticated artistic but a bit burqoise, accompanied by realistic dialog and a quiet, thoughtful plot.

It’s basically about three siblings, one lives in France, another in New York, and another in China. They barely can get altogether to see their 75 year old mother, who was a sister from a very prominent artist/collector. The mother dies, and then the kids have to decide what to do next with her estate.  At first I thought the story is all about the family. But eventually the curtains is opening and made me figured out that this film isn’t about a family at all. It is about a house, the things inside of it and the changing character of those objects. Despited with the absence of all heavy emotion drama scene,  L’Heure d’été feels like a journey that really breathes. It means that the movie is full of life, depicted in a steep realistic and simple talks, like most of France Cinema. The movie captures the sad reality that when a person’s life is over, its over. There’s no such thing as stuff for you to bring to your grave, no matter how valuables it is. When you die, you’re just passing the generation Baton. Aside from Juliette Binoche, I never saw all other actors in  L’Heure d’été. But they did a fine good job to stay to become the character in that family. I like the guy who played the oldest siblings. You can feel his sublime/subtle rage at losing control of the inevitable and to the things he loved. From the cinematography point, even though sometimes L’Heure d’été  feels like a commercial, it is very pastel and cherish, like a tree bark in the nice warm summer sunshine.

L’Heure d’été is good movie. Probably worth of repeated viewing, but not more than 2 or 3 times. Its ‘private” plot somehow reminded me of Hirokazu Koreeda’s Still walking. But not in the same league, Still Walking is more sophisticated and touching. But If you love French Cinema, festival movies and all those things, you’ll love  L’Heure d’été. But for me,  I was so certain that I was going to love this film from that soothing opening credits, only I found that I ended up linking it instead. It doesn’t meant that its a bad or even decent movie. Its a great movie. but I don’t understand where all these awards coming from :

Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Language Film
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Language Film
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (nominated)
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Language film (nominated)
Houston Film Critics Society Awards (nominated)
Online Film Critics Society Awards (nominated)
Denver Film Critics Society (nominated)
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards (nominated)

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