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Review: My Old Lady

October 3, 2014

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

My Old Lady Poster

Directed by Israel Horovitz from his own stage play, My Old Lady works mainly as a three person drama, with the majority of the story taking place at the same location, and the biggest revelations happening during conversations.  After premiering at TIFF, the drama opens today in limited release, courtesy of D Films.

When his father dies, depressed New Yorker Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) returns to the Paris apartment that was left to him with plans to sell the large property, only to find the place occupied by the feisty elderly woman Mathilde (Maggie Smith), and her bitter daughter Chloe (Kristen Scott Thomas).

At first, Mathias and Chloe violently clash, with him determined to sell and her refusing to leave, as Mathilde tries hard to keep her routine and hopefully the peace.  These parts of My Old Lady play almost like a comedy of manners.  But as they spend more time together under the same roof, the surprising history of both their families starts bubbling to the surface, as the film moves into dramatic territory.

The film runs a little long at 107 minutes, and some of the framing is a little stagey.  But this intriguingly dark undercurrent of long buried pain and depression that courses through the well written script keeps things interesting, and takes the story to some surprisingly deeper places.  Topped off with a trio of standout performances from Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas, who effortlessly portray the depth and baggage behind their characters, My Old Lady is worth seeing.

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