Summer Hours review

Three siblings squabble over an inheritance in an elegant drama from French director Olivier Assayas that uses a plot as old as King Lear to explore family relationships and the nature of heritage. When an ageing matriarch pops her clogs, her oldest son (Charles Berling) is eager to maintain her country pile, with its exquisite art collection, as a museum. Brother Jérémie Renier wants to sell up, though, putting their sister Adrienne ( Juliette Binoche) in an impossible position. Part-funded by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, this leisurely fable has an Antiques Roadshow fustiness that makes it hard to empathise with its self-absorbed protagonists. Still, the last scene, which sees the house taken over by hedonistic teenagers, has a wistful beauty that poignantly distills the film’s theme of temporal transition.

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