Extra Cinema: Le Week-End (15)

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Starring: Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan

Director: Roger Michell

Laughter and heartbreak walk hand in clammy hand in Michell and Kureishi’s latest confection, Le Week-end, an elegiac portrait of a married couple testing the robustness of their relationship during a celebratory weekend in Paris.

The French capital looks glorious and provides a suitably swoonsome backdrop to Hanif (Budda of Suburbia)Kureishi’s verbal grenades that explode with devastating impact.

Regret hangs in the air like parfum and amorous advances (“May I touch you?”) are swatted away with a casual indifference (“What for?”) that cuts to the bone.

Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, who played on screen spouses in the 2006 TV movie Longford, spare themselves and each other few blushes as the husband and wife, who have watched their brood fly the nest and must now contemplate spending their twilight years solely in each other’s company.

“Once the kids have gone, what’s left of us?” wonders Meg (Duncan), who has chosen to celebrate 30 years with husband Nick (Broadbent) by revisiting old haunts in the city of amour.

A bittersweet comedy that explores the nature of relationships once the ardour of youth has diminished, the routine of life unfulfilled — and trying to discover out what, if anything is left.

Rating: 8/10