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  • I apologize for this review but this movie left me flat. "Last Weekend" is about a Labor Day weekend with a rich family at their Tahoe summer home. There's mom, dad, two grown sons, their significant others, and perhaps three more house guests thrown in. They're all staying in the fabulous family home on the shore of pristine Lake Tahoe. The movie's a slice of life from this wealthy family's songbook. Like most families, there's a familial core slathered with dysfunction. There are always things that family members don't like about their parents and siblings. I just had a hard time finding a single sympathetic character in the entire ensemble, which is a shame because this is a cast of very capable actors. I just didn't find the story to be up to their abilities.

    If you want to know whether rich people have the same problems as everyone else, this movie's answer is "no." They show little appreciation for the spectacular lake, the surroundings, each other, or the impressive summer home. I couldn't find anything to engage my interest or my sympathy. This movie reduced me to simple observer. At the end of the film, I don't think any of the characters were significantly changed. Perhaps that's what happens in real life, but it's not what I look for in a movie.

    We saw this movie through the San Jose Camera Cinema Club. It was the last film of the club's 2013/2014 season. We look forward to the next one.
  • Drab, boring, pointless, and ever so long (and it's only 93 minutes). Did they not give Patricia Richardson a script before the shoot? This is a movie about a family and some friends gathering together over a holiday weekend at the family "cabin" in Lake Tahoe. There seems, however, to be no plot--or if there is one, it is disjointed, lumbering, and completely inane. Dialogue doesn't appear to be prepared in advance and is s...l...o...w. Character interactions have no focus. There are no cohesive conversations -- every word begets conflict. If they are trying to irritate us into oblivion, then this movie is a success. Otherwise, it is anything but.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A family of spoiled narcissists spend a long weekend at their fabulous Lake Tahoe home(s). The children are, for the most part, unreflective, unaccomplished and unkind. Self-absorption incarnate. Add assorted wives, boyfriends and hangers-on. Mom (the always glorious Patricia Clarkson) has the most unbelievable character trajectory from uptight, cold control-freak to, well, the opposite of that. Dad pretty much looks angry and disappointed all the time (with some good reason, if you ask me) until he, too, experiences a miraculous transformation at the very, very end where he is kind and gentle to his now changed wife. In summary: a group of exceedingly unattractive and under-appreciative people do rather little over the course of a weekend, but one or two seemed to be changed by it. Oh, and they sell the house. I would keep the house and get rid of the damn kids.
  • A wealthy family gathers for a final summer weekend at their beautiful stone home on Lake Tahoe. Mom (played with her patented elegant glow by Patricia Clarkson) and Dad have decided to sell. Things are not boding well for this family gathering. One son has been fired from his job with a financial firm over an expensive clerical error. He arrives in a bad mood and everyone puts up with his insufferable, whiny behavior. The other son, who is gay and works in the film industry, has brought a friend with whom he is forming an attachment that doesn't quite feel like a relationship, and invited a female movie star friend. He is simply embarrassed by his mother's shallow, acquisitive behavior (at one point, Mama plunks down a considerable amount of money on artsy farmer's market things). Nobody is connecting in this family. Mom is a snob. Dad is remote. The kids bicker and look awkward. Throughout the first two-thirds of the film, I wanted to strangle Mom and the kids. But the skill of the actors are what keeps you watching. When there is some sort of sea change in the family, they become a little more likable. But I'm never quite sure why. At the end of the weekend, the son doesn't tell his mother about his work woes, and she doesn't tell either son that she's planning to sell their beloved summer home (though there is some doubt that this will actually happen). I suppose the family games will continue. This is a very well-made film with a strong cast, goo direction, excellent sets, good camera work. Did we need to have the trio from Mozart's COSI FAN TUTTE yet again (this has to be the fourth time I've heard it used on a soundtrack). The film's faults can be directed at a very weak screenplay. I'm not looking for a tidy denouement, but I do rather insist that things make at least a little sense.
  • The people in this movie are clueless narcissists, very well portrayed. I know people like this, limousine liberals, and this is perfectly spot on. And then the portrayal of their humanity gradually shining through the fog of pretension infects every character and makes for a great movie experience. Patricia Clarkson is once again fabulous in a lead role, and the others play off of her nicely. The pretty scenery doesn't hurt, and the director makes full use of the stunning light show that the California/Nevada mountains provides. I question some of the devices that went nowhere, like the screenplay and the Indian museum. They are not used as devices so much as character filler, most of which is not necessary for our understanding of the characters, but which also doesn't get too much in the way.

    I have liked Mays in other things she's done, but I thought she was a bit miscast for the role she was asked to play. I thought the story could have done more with the Nora-Sean couple other than just fill up the house and provide background. Overall though, I really liked the way this movie was put together. It does a very good job of showing how insular this world can be and how people who want for nothing will manufacture their own problems just by calling them problems. Misery rises to the level of comfort. All this without veering off into melodrama. Highly recommended.
  • I saw this film at the KCET screening in Santa Monica and loved it. Too few films explore the intimate lives of women at all, not to mention women's lives after their children have flown the nest. The strong performances, nuanced story and beautiful scenery make for a powerful film.

    Patricia Clarkson (Celia) is a mother on the brink, struggling with the realization that her two sons are no longer children. Her sons have become adults, and Celia's own transition begins. Patricia Clarkson does a pitch perfect job in playing a character who can be abrasive, unsympathetic (and quite funny), but by the end, a transformation takes place, one that humanizes all involved.

    As a woman who is NOT rich, my material life may be far from spending summers at Lake Tahoe, but all the material wealth in the world can't buy peace of mind for Celia. To focus on Celia's financial privilege misses the point - the film explores more nuanced questions about what we want out of our lives, and how to navigate changing times and identities - something all mothers can relate to as their children grow older.

    What I most appreciate is how the movie explores life after children without fear of being too critical or sentimental of either the mother or the children concerned. Real life is not so sanitized, so cookie cutter. The film uses humor to expose some of the darker sides, but eventually finds emotional transformation and cathartic release.

    Celia's two sons & their assorted friends and significant others, the family's neighbors and other Lake Tahoe relations come together in a beautifully-directed ensemble. Even the lake itself, steady and calm while emotions rage around it - becomes a character whose texture imprints on the whole. Judith Light appears for a few side-splitting scenes, leaving a strong impression as Celia's next-door neighbor & frienemy. To see these two veteran actresses in the height of their talents is a rare delight.

    How do we navigate through life's inevitable - and not always welcome - transitions? Can we let go of the illusion of control? Can we find peace - and even the ability to laugh at ourselves? Ultimately, Last Weekend provides a moving answer to these questions
  • saralburdette3 September 2014
    I thought this was a very brave film. The film makers didn't shy away from portraying reality, at least a particular slice of it. They offered up light and shadow without too much commentary, simply portraying it in its subtle and not so subtle complexity. I liked and disliked all the characters. I judged some of their actions, while still caring and having compassion. Patricia Clarkson gives an evocative, haunting performance. The bulk of the cast (all the main characters) are equally believable and nuanced. Together they create a world that doesn't apologize for what it is, that allows us into the lifestyle of the few, while sharing the fear, love and unskillfulness that in part of humanity as a whole. I liked that the film doesn't tell us what to think and feel. It offers up the intimate interactions of one family, and leaves the work of perspective up to us. THE LAST WEEKEND felt more like delving into a good novel than watching a Hollywood movie, which made at least this viewer quite happy she risked the unknown and watched it.
  • Celia Green (Patricia Clarkson) gathers her family for labor day weekend at the Lake Tahoe family lakehouse. Her son Theo Green brings his friends Luke, Nora and Sean Oakes. Her other son Roger Green and Vanessa arrive with some troubles and a case of water. Celia tells her friends Vivian and Jeannie that she and Malcolm are considering selling the house. Theo is a writer on Blake Curtis' TV show and he has invited her to the house. Hector and Maria Castillo are the help around the house.

    It's yet another dysfunctional family. They're not funny or terribly dramatic. They are simply a bunch of people each with their idiotic quirks. Celia with her money obsession seems set up for a reveal of family financial problems. Then it turns out that it is simply another silly personal quirk. It's rich people with rich people problem. Every once in awhile, they get to a real problem and it feels refreshing like minty water. However most of the movie feels empty and without calories. Maybe there's a real reason why she wants to sell the house. In which case, that should be the central reveal which could lead to family discourse and reconciliation.
  • maybakir6 September 2014
    Fantastic film. Demonstrates the sacrifice one does for their family. Failure is greater when disappointing ones family. Touches on the strength a partner must have for their husband/wife during difficult times, and how patience and endurance (something too many people give up on) is worth it.

    Some may focus on the wealth the family has, but then they have missed the entire point behind the story line. I am not a mother, but related to Clarkson's character through my mother and how she has sacrificed for the family while being the bond that hold everyone together.

    Beautifully written. Honest.
  • A piercing snapshot of a family weekend at Lake Tahoe that reveals the ennui, self-infatuation and arrogance of an affluent family. In this setting we meet the matriarch, Celia Green, who's beauty and spirit has imploded in a self-created maze of material objects and unreleased creativity. She undergoes a subtle yet powerful transformation that affects her family and future. Viewers who want fast action won't find release in this film. However, those sensitive souls who never tire of studying human behavior and don't mind facing the starkest challenge of parenthood, to those rare viewers I highly recommend this little pearl. You will surely find something to think about.
  • maa03289 December 2018
    As a 61 year old mother of 3 and grandmother of 5 I could really relate to the storyline and especially the part near the end when she talks about certain things about motherhood. Very enlightening for my own life and situation.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have to agree that this is a brave film - but it is brave because, if one can see the subtleties and nuances of the family dynamic and the experience of the main character, then one will understand what this film is truly about. Yes, it is a study of privilege - of the nouveau riche and their children - but it is more than that. It is the study of the beginnings of a catastrophe where only some are aware the measure of a life changing event.

    Only those who have gone through the beginnings of a loved one's dementia health crisis will identify what is truly transpiring. What we are seeing here is the beginning of a failing memory, and how the character is choosing to deal with it. She is the rock upon which the family is built and she is no longer sure of the geographical boundaries. She is a woman who has built a life based upon control of every situation, real or imagined, but is faced with the ultimate lack of control.

    I know her.

    Bravo! Brava!
  • I really enjoyed this film.

    It gracefully portrayed a very real family dynamic set within self aware and humorous class commentary.

    Patricia Clarkson gave the perfect performance as a mother coming to terms with a new chapter in her life while absurdly fighting it along the way. She plays a character I can definitely relate to. A hybrid of my grandmother and mother-in-law. As a mother of young children, I can see myself having the same feelings when my children become adults.

    The acting is wonderful, the scenery and photography are beautiful. It is equal parts bitter and sweet with bits of comedy interspersed.

    Loved it.
  • williamrlocke6 September 2014
    Don't miss the stellar Patricia Clarkson and a simply wonderful cast in the satisfying comedy LAST WEEKEND. It made me feel at home (and a bit homesick as well).

    Everybody can relate to this movie. All families are rich in character and navigating a family get together always leads to something unexpected.

    Tom Dolby and Tom Williams are a picture perfect team. They expertly displayed their innate ability to capture the essence and complications of family and crisis.

    I highly recommend this movie, it is a job well done.
  • Last Weekend is a poignant and moving meditation of family, loss, and change. Patricia Clarkson leads a magnificent ensemble with her raw performance. She is a brilliant actress, but gets far too few leading roles. Here, she is the heart of the film as a mother confronting the passage of time, and the rest of the cast match her nuanced intensity brilliantly, with especially great turns by up-and-comers Zachary Booth, Joseph Cross, and Devon Graye.

    The film's directors maintain a tone of quiet longing throughout, and the film is beautiful to look at (Lake Tahoe has never looked better), but look beneath its shimmering surface and you will find a compassionate look at the difficult bonds of family. Stunning.