Le Week-end

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Nick and Meg, a British couple in their late fifties, live in Birmingham, where Meg is a biology teacher at a comprehensive school and Jim a philosophy lecturer at a unfashionable university. On a weekend to Paris in an attempt to rediscover some romance again in their longlived marriage, Jim has unwisely booked them into the same hotel as the one in which they had their honeymoon thirty years ago – a bad mistake. It now seems very different to their older eyes, and Meg refuses to stay in it. She runs for a taxi, and demands to be taken to one of Paris’ most luxurious hotels – way beyond their experience or price range. Initially it seems the grand hotel is full, but eventually the couple are offered a magnificent suite – “Tony Blair once stayed there”, and Meg slaps down her credit card. Over the next days, our couple enjoy Paris, some glorious French food, and occasionally each other, though long-established tensions in their marriage often break out in humorous and painful ways. They are trying to find their way back to the carefree world of their youth, with its idealism and political commitment. Instead they often argue about sex, their children, and the difficulty of remaining together. The first night they meet Morgan, American friend of Nick’s from Cambridge days, who now lives in Paris. He is a media superstar, famous, rich and married to a young French woman who is expecting his child. He invites them to a dinner party at his super-chic apartment to celebrate the publication of his latest book. It’s a frightening evening for Nick and Meg – full of successful, cosmopolitan people, very comfortable in themselves and Paris. The evening ends badly when Nick confesses that he has recently lost his job at the University for insulting a black student, and he and Meg leave the party in some distraction. Arriving back at the hotel, they find their room has been cleared, and their belongings taken – Meg’s credit card has been refused, and the hotel wants to call the police. Nic kand Meg make a run for it, ending up in a working-class cafe with a few Euros to their name. In the end, they call Morgan, who arrives to pay their bills, and the three old friends are reunited in spirit.

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