L’heure d’été (English title: Summer Hours) is a remarkably realistic film about how three siblings (aged in their late-30’s to early-40’s) deal with their inheritance following the death of their 75 year old mother, Hélène. While the film is largely about inheritance, it also examines death with all its emotional and practical dealings, family relations amid modern geographic dispersion, and meaning and symbolism behind property, objects, and location. These ideas are worth exploring and the film does not tell you what to think about them. Instead, it sympathetically portrays a family dealing with these issues and leaves the viewer to conclude whatever they may. The film, brilliantly directed by Olivier Assayas, is very well acted, the camera work well shot with beautiful cinematography, and the dialogue and story are interesting. The greatness of the film, though, is its realism— in the dialogue, the acting, the characters, and the set—in everything.
Photo credit: IFC Films.