Matthew Morgan (played by Michael Caine) sits next to his wife, Joan (by Jane Alexander). He can’t bear to leave her, but he must … she has just died. He is left to exist without her in their home in Paris, where he faces his grief and goes through the motions of his empty life. A retired Professor of Philosophy, he rejects his books and the offers of help from his housekeeper, preferring his own company – he speaks no French and really has only one friend now, Colette (by Anne Alvaro), who he sees now and then. One day, after an incident on a bus, he meets young dance teacher Pauline Laubie (by Clémence Poésy). Although she’s a stranger and a loner herself, she makes sure he gets home safely and takes an interest in him. Estranged from his children back in the United States, he barely speaks to his son Miles (by Justin Kirk) or his daughter Karen (by Gillian Anderson) – he spends his days grieving for Joan and reminiscing with her memory. His friendship with Pauline is a welcome distraction and he finds some positivity in life again. He ends up in hospital and is startled that not only Pauline, but both Miles and Karen have made the trip to France to see him. They are instantly suspicious of Pauline’s motives towards Matthew and a long-held family feud resurfaces. Can these people repair the deep fractures in their relationships and form a positive bond, even at this late stage? Or is there nothing left in life for Matthew?
This is a nice drama but doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. In some ways the story is poignant – Matthew’s deep loss and ongoing reminiscences with Joan, the mutual respect between Pauline and Matthew, the slow but strong friendship that develops between them … but there are parts that are very weak also – Michael Caine’s performance is patchy – as this angry and frustrated, grieving old man he’s strong – but in parts he’s robotic and superficial too, with a terrible Texan accent. It’s not quite all there somehow. Other parts of the movie are very good – as Matthew’s adult children, Miles and Karen, Justin Kirk and Gillian Anderson are great. Here, Anderson is hard to recognise but her character is authentic and we truly believe she is the product of her parents’ upbringing as she tries to manage her own dysfunctional family. As an angry and disappointed man – Justin Kirk’s performance as Miles is good too and his behaviour is often jaw-dropping, but told well and appropriate for this story. The movie was also released as “Last Love”. Overall it’s okay.
Made in 2013. Directed by Sandra Nettelbeck