Its 10:51 am
Was poking around my basement looking for something to watch. I was in a mood for something a bit heavier then what we have been watching lately so the cheetah and I were looking together. The cheetah pointed out “The Night Listener” but it just wasn’t speaking to me so I decided on “My Old Lady” because it has been a LONG time since I have watched a Kevin Kline film and since the cheetah had never watched one of his movies,we settled in to check out “My Old Lady”.
The film opens up and we meet Mathias “Jim” Gold (Kevin Kline) who has arrived in Paris,France to get an apartment he has received as his inheiritance from his father.
Mathias is 57 years old and while he lives in New York,he was just barely hanging on,he sees him as a writer but he hasn’t written anything of note.
He gets to the apartment and enters,its a huge space with a upstairs and a downstairs and the building is fully furnished. As Mathias explores the various rooms,he stumbles across an elderly lady named Mathilde (Maggie Smith) who says she lives there. As Mathias explains that the apartment is now his and that he is going to sell it,Mathilde drops a bombshell on him,by French law,not only Mathilde allowed to live there but Mathias has to pay her a monthly sum of 2,400 euros a month until she dies. Mathias then asks her hold old she is and is visibly relieved to hear Mathilde is 90 years old.
If he doesn’t,she can call the authorities and have Mathias evicted from his own apartment….and Mathias knows that somewhere and somehow the lawyer handling his father’s estate had failed to impress on him this condition.
Mathias explains that while his father had left him the apartment,he failed to leave him any of his other wealth and that Mathias had used everything he had just to get to Paris.
Mathilde shows compassion and allows Mathias to stay and pay a small rent,the money he then raises by selling various pieces of furniture.
He then meets by accident a younger woman named Chloe (Kristin Scott Thomas) who happens to be Mathilde’s daughter. Its distrust on first sight but they remain civil.
Soon Mathias is exploring the various rooms and discovers a terrible secret that threatens to destroy him,he has endured just a brutal life full of heartbreak and self-destruction and what he finds out about his father nearly sends him over the edge emotionally and mentally.
Mathilde and Chloe do their best to help but Mathias not realizing that this sad soul has actually been trying to help them as well….and when Mathias and Chloe’s distrust starts to to turn into having feelings for each other,will those be enough to help them find peace??
“My Old Lady” was an interesting watch,it played out like a play and sure enough,the film’s director,Israel Horovitz,is the same man who wrote the original play. This was also Horovitz’s second film he had directed but as the writer of said material,he did a lovely job here. He also did all the casting and in the special features,he shares with an audience on how he got Kevin to do his film.
Mathias Gold is simply one of the most fucked up characters I have ever seen on film. It was like he was cursed the minute set took his first breath and he is truly a victim here and I mean he never had a chance in life and its a damn miracle he made to 57 years old. You just want to hug him and tell him that it will be okay. The sins of parents are often overlooked in heavy dramas like this,we look at the grown children and berate them for not making wiser choices in their lives….when in fact there are a few,and thank God for that,,just a few that never had a chance to make those choices.
Mathias doesn’t wallow in self-pity,while his drinking is not a wise move,one clearly understands why he does. The man is so broken and while I think he wants to die,he wants someone to explain WHY others put him in that position before he does.
Horovitz wants to give Mathias a chance in life by allowing him to have a relationship with Chloe but you already know its never going to pan out,their love is built on quicksand and guilt and that does not bode well for a long term relationship.
All four actors – Kline,Smith,Thomas and the city of Paris all shine brightly in this film and while the subject matter is so sad,there is also a lot of lighter moments to be had here.
“My Old Lady” is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 1 hour 48 minutes.
Special features include a indepth interview with Kline and Horovitz.
The cheetah and I gave this film a thumbs/paw straight up.
Who is the saddest character you have seen onscreen? Drop us a comment and share it with us…..