Summer Hours

summerhours

Here, from the French writer-director Olivier Assayas, is a wistful Chekhovian drama of historical and familial inheritance. An aging widow (Edith Scob) assembles her family at the country estate she inherited from a famous-artist uncle, and prods her adult children (Charles Berling, Juliette Binoche and Jérémie Renier) to plan what to do with its treasures when she herself is gone. Tensely, but tenderly, the siblings take inventory of their sentimental attachments, ruminating on the value of heirlooms and intangible family bonds. By turns procedural and meandering, Assayas’ tale has an irregular pace, and occasionally it drags. But the performers all shine, especially with Eric Gautier’s nimble cinematography so alertly noticing them. It is, uniformly, a gracious and deeply felt movie. That you’ll probably be less inclined to like it if you’re less than 30 years old is part of what it’s about.

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