Tag Archives: Kristin Scott Thomas

My Old Lady

Can it be true? … can Mathias Gold (played by Kevin Kline) finally have had some good fortune? Having grown up in a wealthy New York family, Mathias’ luck hasn’t been great over his life – in fact he’s been quite unhappy. He’s never had a great relationship with his father and he’s had some bad marriages. His father died recently and left Mathias an apartment in Paris – fantastic! It’s got to be worth a fortune, right? – At last, something good’s going to come out of all these traumatic years. Mathias heads to Paris to take a look at his new property. On his arrival, he discovers a fabulous and huge apartment – but there’s one small snag … it’s currently inhabited. But the resident isn’t just a tenant who can be evicted, it’s Madame Mathilde Girard (by Maggie Smith). She lives in the apartment under a decades-old Parisian arrangement, along with her daughter Chloé (by Kristin Scott Thomas). Madame Girard has no intention of moving and expects to stay, along with Chloe, in the apartment until she dies. As a woman in her early nineties, she’s quite fit, so this change doesn’t seem to be coming anytime in the near future. So … luck hasn’t quite dealt Mathias a clear hand here. All he wants to do is sell the apartment for a fair price and get back to New York with the money – so how’s he going to get that done now?

This movie is far deeper and darker than I expected. To start with, the production itself is dark – the Parisian apartment is vast and roomy, but not light. There’s a garden, but it doesn’t offer any joy or freshness either. The moody atmosphere inside the house reflects the nature of the relationships between these people – there are several and they are complex, hence the density of the drama that unfolds. There’s no doubt that Kevin Kline is a brilliant comedy actor, so I thought this may be a far more light-hearted piece than it is. In this serious role he’s very good, as is Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas. Maggie Smith does play these eccentric old ladies very well. As Chloe, Kristin Scott Thomas is rather predictable and there’s little new here from her, that’s unfortunate as I am a fan of hers. If anything, the movie’s possibly a bit too long – but then again, the story is complex so may need that much time in the telling. It raises multitudes of questions about relationships … When is the best time to reveal truths in families? Who is the one to know what’s best for others? When infidelity is part of a relationship, can that be a long term feature? and Would a relationship work if it was?  … these are vexing questions indeed, ones that have more than one “right” answer no doubt. It’s an interesting piece that may cause the viewer to consider it long after the movie ends.

Made in 2014. Directed by Israel Horovitz.

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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Movies


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Random Hearts

Sargeant “Dutch” van den Broeck (played by Harrison Ford) is a Washington DC cop, happily married to his beautiful wife, Peyton (by Susanna Thompson) who’s a fashion director for an up-market department store. One Friday, Peyton is called away on business at the last minute and leaves a phone message for Dutch to let him know she’ll be away a few days. On the other side of town, Kay Chandler (by Kristin Scott Thomas) is an intelligent and capable candidate for the upcoming election who is totally focussed on her political image and her ambitions to change the world. Kay and her husband are busy professionals who both must travel as part of their jobs and who spend much of their marriage passing like “ships in the night”.  On this day, an aircraft crashes into the river in DC but neither Kay nor Dutch take much notice as it’s a flight to Miami, not on the itinerary of either of their partners – until Dutch realises his wife is not yet home. He checks his messages and discovers she may be on the plane. He finds out that she is, in fact, on the plane but she has lied about the reason for her travels. At the same time, Kay discovers her husband is killed in the crash and a series of circumstances leads Kay and Dutch to lean on each other during this very difficult period in their lives.

I like this movie – the drama unfolds well and it is only predictable to a point. Both Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas are great. Ford plays his typical rough-around-the-edges kind of guy, who also has deep sensitivity and Scott Thomas is excellent as the stylish, no-nonsense political animal who is a straight-talker but who won’t admit to any vulnerabilities. I like it because it doesn’t go where you expect it to and doesn’t end in the predictable way.  It’s a good drama, but probably a bit too long.  There is a parallel (virtually redundant) storyline around Dutch’s work to investigate a murder, but this really only serves to show the audience that he is really a cop. The main interest is with the unfolding story of the partners who have been killed. A good movie. 

Made in 1999. Directed by Sydney Pollack

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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Movies


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Keeping Mum

In 1960’s England, a steam train meanders through the countryside and on board is sweet young and heavily pregnant Rosie Jones (played by Emilia Fox). Rosie’s huge cabin trunk is in the baggage car and it suddenly starts to leak … blood. At the next station, the police meet Rosie and escort her and her trunk from the train, while she sweetly explains why she has just killed her husband. Rosie is admitted to a mental institution for recovery. Over forty years later, in the sleepy northern English hamlet of Little Wallop, Reverend Walter Goodman (by Rowan Atkinson) is tending to his parisoners, while his wife Gloria (by Kristin Scott Thomas) does her best to manage their growing children, Holly (by Tasmin Egerton) and Petey (by Toby Parkes) and ignore the fact that their lives have become rather stale and empty. In her dissatisfaction, Gloria starts to weaken to the advances of the local golf pro, Lance (by Patrick Swayze) and considers running away with him – but then their new housekeeper, Grace Hawkins (by Maggie Smith) arrives. She is so sweet, she immediately has a huge impact on the family and life starts to take a turn for the better … niggling problems mysteriously start to resolve themselves – are we imagining this or are the people causing the problems just disappearing? …. perhaps Grace isn’t quite as sweet as she seems?

At first glance, this movie doesn’t really promise much – but it really is good. Rowan Atkinson is just sublime as the absent-minded but sweet Walter. He’s marvellous with his flock, particularly his most entertaining parishioner, Mrs Parker, beautifully played by Liz Smith. Grace is a strong character and Kristin Scott Thomas portrays her perfectly., The children Tasmin Egerton and Toby Parkes are both well cast and provide great characters. Best performances are Rowan Atkinson, Maggie Smith (she is exquisite as the sweet, but “more lurks below” Grace – the movie totally belongs to her) and Patrick Swayze, who is totally fabulous as the cringe-worthy letcherous Lance. It’s actually very good and a huge surprise as it becomes a truly entertaining movie. Well done all.  

Made in 2005. Directed by Niall Johnson.

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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Movies


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The Valet (La doublure)

François Pignon (played by Gad Elmaleh) is a car valet at an elegant Paris hotel near the Eiffel Tower. He is in love with his childhood sweetheart Émilie (by Virginie Ledoyen) and plans to marry her – if only she felt the same way about him. One day, after lunching with Emilie and having his marriage proposal rejected, he is distractedly walking back to work when he ends up involved in a liaison between supermodel Elena (by Alice Taglioni) and her billionaire industrialist sugar daddy Pierre Levasseur (by Daniel Auteuil). Pierre needs to keep Elena happy but hide his infidelities from the media so his suspicious and devious wife Christine (by Kristin Scott Thomas) doesn’t find out. Here is where the problems begin … a paparazzi photograph appears in a gossip magazine and Pierre must explain away his actions – he tracks down François and offers him a deal too good to be true … all François needs to do is pretend to be Elena’s lover for a few weeks, then he’ll be handsomely rewarded. But is this going to be as easy as it sounds? … and will it be worth it?

This is just a straightforward nice movie – a short sweet comedy story, with some life lessons along the way. Paris is beautiful and its people are equally stunning. The most luminous of characters here is Émilie – Virginie Ledoyen is lovely as the “girl next door” natural beauty. The comedy is pleasant, there is little swearing, no violence, no sex and nothing offensive here.  It’s just a harmless fun, a French romance with some entertaining sidelines – François’ best friend Richard (by Dany Boon) is consistently good and Émilie’s father, Le Médecin (by Michel Aumont), is lovely as the doctor who thinks he is more sick than his patients. Kristin Scott Thomas is perfect as the wickedly conniving wife, Christine, who is bitter to the core but always full of grace and elegance.

Made in 2006. Directed by Francis Veber

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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Movies


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Confessions of a Shopaholic

Rebecca Bloomwood (played by Isla Fisher) is living in New York. She is just establishing herself in her career as a journalist but she’s got three problems … a little shopping addiction, a growing debt problem and a huge compulsion to tell lies. Shopping and fashion are the passions of her life, but her debt is crippling and she tells lies to keep herself at arms length from reality. Rebecca has suddenly lost her source of income and must find another job – desperate times! Her best friend Suze (by Krysten Ritter) and her parents (by Joan Cusak and John Goodman) do their best to support her. She wins an interview for her dream job at renowned fashion magazine “Alette”, but things don’t quite go according to plan and she ends up trying to report on current issues for steady and conservative Luke Brandon (by Hugh Dancy) at “Successful Saving”, a finance publication – not exactly the best match for her skills and interests, but she needs a job so she gives it a go anyway. She has some success with her column and as a result she meets and is entranced by Alette Naylor (by Kristin Scott Thomas), the Editor of “Alette“. This fuels her dreams of a life punctuated by designer labels, luxury brands and style, style, style! Meanwhile, debt collector Derek Smeath (by Robert Stanton) is closing in on her so her lies escalate. She tries to build her career, overcome her shopping obsession and stop telling lies, but this becomes more and more difficult as her life and lies threaten to catch up with her.

This romantic comedy is one where you are not sure if the girl is going to be happy (and get the guy) in the end or not. I have one word for this movie … what-evah! Perhaps I should have been warned by the title, but the cast intrigued me enough to give it a go. Alas, it is obviously not aimed at me – it is predictable, tedious and the slapstick comedy leaves me cold. I am sure Isla Fisher could find a much better role than this to play and throughout the movie all I kept thinking about her was “I wish she would wash her hair!”. The supporting characters are all fine – Julie Hagerty is great as Luke’s assistant, John Goodman is endearing as Rebecca’s father and the two key women, Kristin Scott Thomas and Joan Cusak are okay but not particularly significant. One curious role is that of Ms Korsch, the facilitator of the Shopaholics’ Support Group, played by Wendy Malick in bizarre hair and make-up, presumably designed to make her look cold and clinical. Even Hugh Dancy manages to make Luke seem quite insipid. As a pastime, it’s alright, but only if you’ve got nothing better to do.

Made in 2009. Directed by P. J. Hogan

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Movies


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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Dr. Alfred Jones (played by Ewan McGregor) is a mild-mannered scientist and academic in the British Department of Fisheries who is passionate about fly fishing, specifically salmon fishing. He is a published researcher who spends his days with his books, his fly-tying and his fishing paraphernalia. He is approached by Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (by Emily Blunt) whose client Sheik Mohammed of Yemen (by Amr Waked) is a keen salmon fisherman with several estates in Scotland where he fly-fishes reularly.  He has the strong desire (and financial wherewithal) to introduce salmon fishing into his home country of Yemen and he has engaged Harriet to investigate the feasibility of such a scheme. At first, Alfred is dismissive of the “hair-brained” notion, but due to political and public relations pressures, the British Prime Minister soon decides this project should have top priority so he puts his most senior PR Executive Patricia Maxwell (by Kristin Scott Thomas) onto the job to make sure it happens, with all the accompanying positive media exposure, Alfred finds himself reluctantly involved. Both he and Harriet are forced together to make this project work and each is also happy for the distraction as things in their personal lives are not running smoothly. As the project begins to take shape and seem like it may actually be possible, Alfred discovers he has a passion for it – and for Harriet. But, as expected, the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly and neither does the establishment of a salmon run in Yemen …..

This is a sweet movie with wonderful cinematography that showcases the stunning Scottish countryside as well as the stark beauty of Yemen.  As always, Ewan is wonderful as the timid Dr Alfred Jones and his deadpan humour is exquisite. Emily Blunt is perfect as Harriet – she is beautiful, intelligent, worldly-wise and also a little vulnerable so her world can seem steady one minute and rocky the next. They are a good balance here. The devillishly handsome Egyptian actor Amr Waked does a fine job – he is totally authentic and believable as a realistic but super rich Sheik. Kristin Scott Thomas’ performance as Patricia Maxwell is delicious and she brings a welcome edge to this story.  It’s entertaining and does leave you with a warm feeling in the end.

The movie is an adaptation of the satirical novel by Paul Torday.

Made in 2012. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Movies


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Nowhere Boy

John Lennon’s life up to the early days of the Quarrymen (pre-cursor band to The Beatles) is told in this movie. We meet teenage John Lennon (played by Aaron Johnson), who is living in suburban Liverpool in the early 1960’s with his Aunty Mimi (by Kristin Scott Thomas) and Uncle George (by David Threlfall). Aunty Mimi is a caring, but strict guardian who took resoponsibility for raising John when his biological mother Julia (by Anne Marie Duff) abandoned him. John is shown to be fond of Mimi and his Uncle George, so it appears the childhood he spent with them was relatively stable. In the movie, Julia re-appears and forms a new relationship with her son. The dynamics and influence of each of these women and their relationships with John Lennon is the focus of this story, along with the connection John is developing with young Paul McCartney.

You won’t see a biopic of the Beatles, or a nostalgic look at the sixties, but the characters in this movie are all wonderfully portrayed, the drama and emotion is real and the performances are excellent.

(Made in 2009)

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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Movies


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