My Old Lady Blu-ray Review
A middle-aged American, Mathias (Kevin Kline), inherits a beautiful apartment building in Paris, but when he shows up, there is an elderly lady named Mathilde (Maggie Smith) living there. She explains to him that the deal his late father made was a “viager” – an old French system that means the buyer does not take possession and continues to pay rent until the original owner dies. This sometimes might be fortuitous, however other times it becomes a financial burden. Either way, the system is a bit morbid, as it relies on the death of the seller.
With nothing to his name, Mathias has now inherited a debt. While he still is able to strike a deal with an eager buyer, there is much more to the story and the characters involved. Butting heads with Mathilde’s live-in daughter Chloe (Kristin Scott Thomas), Mathias and Chloe begin to learn a lot more about each other’s dramatic and difficult past involving a secret love affair between their parents.
MY OLD LADY sets up an interesting premise and then delves far deeper than I expected into the human emotions. Working on many levels, the story is about redemption, forgiveness, and how parents decisions can drastically affect their children’s lives. Many stories focus on the impact on young children and that is why MY OLD LADY is particularly unique. Mathias and Chloe are roughly 60-years old, providing a look at the long-lasting effects parent’s involvement can have.
I don’t want to get too detailed about the mysteries revealed in their personal lives, as the discovery is part of the overwhelming connection to the characters. But I found the message extremely impactful, reinforcing the truths about the negative consequences of infidelity. MY OLD LADY could have ended on a down note or a positive note successfully, but I personally enjoyed the choice on which the film ultimately landed.
Director Israel Horovitz wrote the play for which the film is based along with the screenplay. He masterfully tells the captivating story intended for the stage with ease. Minimal production is needed as the well-written story is portrayed beautifully by skillfully accomplished stage and film actors. Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith and Kevin Kline are perfectly cast, bringing the appropriate subtle emotion that so often is delivered a bit more over-the-top in a family drama, like in 2013’s AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. I have been a huge fan of Kline ever since seeing SILVERADO as a child. And no matter what type of film he’s in, Kline is a one of a kind actor, who I consider among the best. MY OLD LADY is a surprisingly thoughtful film that dives deeper as it progresses.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 2.41) The picture looks clean and beautiful.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio is also fine with clear dialogue.
92nd Street Y Annette Insdorf Interview with Kevin Kline and Israel Horovitz (57:32): They talk about the film in front of an audience among some of their other woks.