Thursday, 1 October 2015

My Old Lady

Lowdown: A luckless American guy finds out the Parisian apartment he inherited puts him in a lifetime debt to an old lady.
If there is one message I would like to convey with regards to My Old Lady, it is this: My Old Lady is not a comedy.
Which is important for me to stress given my expectations and how this movie smashed them over and over again with a wrecking ball. You see, between (1) the connotations with My Fair Lady and (2) Kevin Kline in the lead, I was pretty sure I was in for some laughs in the next Fish Called Wanda episode. Instead I got myself a drama, and a serious one at that. Dare I say even a sad one.
The premises are simple enough. Mathias (Kline) is an American guy who most people would classify a failure (because most people judge other people by their financial success). Salvation comes in the shape of a Parisian apartment he inherits from his estranged father: given the location, he’s in to become a millionaire overnight!
Alas, the apartment comes with a catch. His father bought it with a special French contract that had the owner pay a substantial monthly fee to its current resident until their time of death, which is when - and only when - ownership is effectively transferred from the tenant and to the owner. [Note a salute to the French, who know how to protect residents’ rights from greedy owners.] That tenant is portrayed by Maggie Smith, a woman who clearly has no expiration plans. Thus our Mathias is royally screwed: not only is he not going to be a millionaire, he has no way of paying his old lady's "salary" either.
My Old Lady is about the drama that unfolds when Mathias digs into the circumstances that had his old lady put in her position and why his father left him with such a vengeful inheritance. Supporting affairs is Kristin Scott Thomas, the official English woman in France actress. Affairs are rather gloomy and, with all due respect, slow and boring despite the short duration. I will also add that affairs are pretty predictable, too. Or, to put it in other words: once the viewer gets over the idea at the core of this movie, the movie has nothing else to offer them.
Overall: It could have been my false expectations, but I was quite disappointed with My Old Lady. 2 out of the 5 crabs that noted how American cinema should grow up and get over its Paris fetish.

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