Israel Horovitz directs this comedy about New Yorker Mathias Gold (played by Kevin Kline and coincidentally the same actor who voiced Captain Phoebus in Hunchback of Notre Dame) travels to Paris to purchase the apartment he inherited from his father. On his arrival he discovers that the apartment is already lived in by an old woman named Mathilde (played by the wonderful Maggie Smith) and her daughter Chloe (Kristin Scott Thomas).
To his horror Mathias realises that the apartment is a ‘viager’ A French term for buying and selling apartments and he cannot get possession of it until Mathilde dies. He is surprised by this as his father never told him and plus, he couldn’t understand the French lawyer. Never the less, Mathilde lets him stay in the apartment with her.
Mathias also discovers that his father and Mathilde had an affair while they were both married. He has also fallen in love with Chloe and since she wants to stay in the apartment he decides to decline the multimillion pound offer for the apartment/contract. At the end all is turns out well and Mathilde announces to Mathias that he can live in the apartment en viager whilst providing a life annuity.
I went to see this film at the Gulbenkian Theatre with my boyfriend before Christmas. It was one of those films where I felt that I had seen all of it in the trailer previously. Don’t get me wrong It was a great film with lovely Parisian surroundings but at times it felt predictable. For instance, at the end when Mathias discovers the truth I expected he and Chloe would find they out were brother and sister or something along those lines. Never the less, the cast was pretty good.