Drama – 2019 – France/Portugal/Belgium – 98 Minutes – Sony Pictures Classics – R
Three generations of a European family come together in the fabled town of Sintra, Portugal, for one last vacation before the family matriarch faces the next, and last, chapter of her life. Over the course of one crisp October day, the fairy tale setting brings about everyone’s most romantic impulses, revealing both cracks between them, as well as unexpected depth of feeling. A successful actress used to getting her way, Francoise “Frankie” Cremont has a secret plan: she wants to marry off Paul, her perpetually single son, to Ilene, an American hairstylist she befriended on a film shoot in New York. As Frankie tries to manipulate her son’s future, her adoring Irish husband Jimmy is forced to confront his own feelings of imminent loss. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s daughter Sylvia faces the potential dissolution of her own marriage to the remote, but financially successful, Ian. And as the adults play out their intricate plots and machinations, Sylvia and Ian’s teenage daughter Maya spends the afternoon with a group of local boys by the sea, discovering the joys and surprises of first love. Watching from the sidelines is Frankie’s ex-husband, and Paul’s father, Michel, who, accompanied by João-Miguel, a handsome Portuguese tour guide, observes all with a wry and seasoned understanding. When Frankie’s plans are thwarted by the arrival of Ilene’s boyfriend, Gary, she is forced to come to terms with the mysteries of life, death, and our all too human limitations. From one morning to late afternoon, each of the nine members of the extended clan will be transformed by both the dramas of the family, and the magic and beauty of this mythical place.
Directed by Ira Sachs
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Brendan Gleeson, Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei, Jérémie Renier
The film studiously avoids melodrama or theatrics of any sort, enfolding instead as a kind of melancholic tone poem. – The Wrap
The whole thing struck me as pleasant, nicely judged, and unremarkable, right up to a final shot so graceful and moving that it sent waves of poignancy backwards through the movie. – The AV Club
Sachs offers many gentle pleasures in his latest film. – The Hollywood Reporter
It drifts by with all the force of a mild summer breeze, and — as is typical of Sachs’ jewel-like work — it leaves you feeling like you could have spent another 90 minutes with these characters. – IndieWire