My Old Lady DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist
My Old Lady

The Premise
An American inherits an apartment in Paris that comes with an unexpected resident.

The Review
About a month ago I returned from a trip to Paris, so this film came along at the perfect time. It is always nice to see a film set in a city or country that you have recently visited so that you can eagerly watch for things that you recognize. In some cases it is probably even better when there has been a little more time passed since being there as it refreshes the memories that you made from your excursion. For me this film certainly brought to the forefront so many differences between us Kiwis and the French.

One of these weird and crazy differences is the practice of ‘Viager’ in French real estate. Now this is something that is rather weird and I couldn’t imagine it working in New Zealand in the slightest. The basic concept is that one person sells their property to another person for a cheaper amount on the agreement that the seller will live in the property rent free till they die or chose to leave. However the additional element that makes this thing super crazy is that the buyer also agrees to pay a weekly fee to the seller until they die. As you can imagine this film becomes something very interesting to watch once you find out about this whole deal.

While the lead character sees his inheritance as a way to get ahead in life and yet in all honesty he really ends up with something that he certainly wasn’t expecting whilst having to deal with people who have a few secrets of their own. It all combines to bring about a highly interesting, quite funny and deeply moving story.

The plot balances out well as the film progresses and this in part is down to the huge differences in the ensemble cast. Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas bring a brilliant mix of personalities that bounce off each other to great dramatic and comedic affect. This film reunites Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas for the second time as love interests. They starred in Life as a House together first.

Then of course you have Maggie Smith who brings her character to life with a cleverness that can only come from someone with a wide range of acting experience. Here she is the perfect blend of grumpy, naive and manipulative. It certainly helps that My Old Lady is also shot on a location that is as stunning and interesting as it is beautiful and hence you have a film that is enthralling in so many ways.

The Verdict
A really interesting and enjoyable story that gives insight into some ways of life that certainly seem so foreign to us kiwis and yet making for a very good film.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 18th March 2015
Rating: M – Contains adult themes
Duration: 107 minutes 
Genre:  Comedy
Starring: Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, Dominique Pinon, Francis Dumaurier, Anouk Dutruit
Director: Israel Horovitz (3 Weeks After Paradise)

The Extras
This picture reunites Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas for the second time as mother and daughter roles. They starred in Keeping Mum together first.

The film is playwright and screenwriter Israel Horovitz's directorial debut.

Jane Birkin was originally cast as Chloé Girard, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. She was replaced by Kristin Scott Thomas.