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  • f-mimmi16 April 2018
    The ability of the director drives the film through a quiet ebb that does not know hampers or falls. A family reunion redimes the past and opens up a future with recovered principles. Splendid in their subdued tones, as always, Guediguian's actors, and delicious the idea of recovering some of an ancient movies with the same but young people in it.
  • This movie proved much more interesting than I had assumed beforehand, after having read the various plot descriptions. This is not a movie with three talking heads, reviving old memories and related discussions, and so on. The threesome gathering around their ailing father, form the center of several related protagonists. Each has a useful role to clarify what is on everyone's mind. All of them bring ample extra story lines to make up an assortment of relevant human drama and unexpected developments. Especially the latter turned this screening into a positive surprise. Even the stranded fugitives who have a side role near the end of the running time, did not feel as unnatural nor introduced solely to add a contemporary issue like immigration to the mix just for the sake of it. Similarly, euthanasia is another contemporary topic, creating an extra story line that is introduced at a natural place, where it was understandable that the people involved arrived at a certain "useless" point in life (nevertheless, I had not expected them really doing it). Apart from these two examples of unexpected plot lines, several other people came around to liven up the overall story and causing even so many unexpected developments, yet the collection of protagonists did not feel over-crowding the plot.
  • First, I saw this without subtitles in my native language, so I may have missed a bit, but the poignant story came through anyway. It's time-tested: family dealing with pending death, but much more slips in: love, politics, real estate exploitation, to name just a few. The sites of the Mediterranean are delightful, as are visions of a life that is disappearing there. At the end, I thought, unlike another reviewer here, that these actors truly inhabited their characters; they caught me up. I did find the smoking disturbing, but that people resort to smoking again in a time of crisis is not unusual. The only consistent smoker was a young person, so go figure. Enjoy this film, if you can. It does not disappoint.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Robert Guédiguian is one of the most vital directors currently working in France , his masterworks " La Ville Est Tranquille" " Les Neiges Du kilimandjaro" or the neglected "Une Histoire De Fous " are endearing tales that go straight to the heart :generous, brash, full of compassion , far from the crazes and the trends and a million light years from the "feel-good" contemporary French scene ,Guédiguian 's commitment to his work is extraordinary.

    I would perhaps not put,however , " La Villa" ,among his best works ;there is too much stuff on it that should have been edited : several characters would need a whole movie ,and maybe a treatment a la "La Ville Est Tranquille " woud have done them justice in a more efficient way .Besides ,there are cliches , a thing he avoided in former works: the post -May 68 unionist (played by highly talented Darroussin ) we have seen him a hundred times or more;ditto for the young fiancée -who-could-be -his daughter - who is decorative but does not really bring something substantial to the plot ;his anti-militarist side gets on the nerves :I do hope Guédiguian sides with the black soldier ,who,like his mates ,is not responsible for what the authorities do with the immigrants ,but "do protect the bourgeois " of whom Joseph is part ,willy-nilly.By the same token , the young fisherman's love with an aging actress (the wonderful Ariane Ascaride ), is trite and predictable.Last but not least ,Guédiguian ,who has always used songs from the FRENCH culture (see "Kilimandjaro" and " Histoire De Fous" ) succumbs to one of his less talented colleague's vices : a song in English :Dylan's "I want you";it's about as appropriate here as "Comme D'Habitude " ("my way") would have been on "the killing of the sacred deer".

    That said , you should watch this movie :its several moving moments will make it worth your while:

    -the young doctor ,whose parents "struggled all their life to get by" ,and who now wants to take care of them ; their desire to taste "the other world, should it exist ",hand in hand (in every sense of the term).

    -the patriarch,lighting a (probably forbidden ) cigarette with a terse "never mind" .

    -the second scene,with the young black soldier ,when he's offered a coffee and explains what fate lies in store for illegal orphaned immigrants'children .

    -the three children in the bushes, the girl feeding her kid brothers ;the "grave" ;the people from the villa trying to communicate with them .

    And in the end,despite the several reservations expressed above, "La Villa" is a hymn to life : their father,after his stroke ,will live a vegetative life to his death ;his three children have no child to carry on;thus ,the appearance of the three young aliens is all the more important ; like Marie-Claire and her husband in "Les Neiges Du Kilimandjaro ", imitating Victor Hugo's " Les pauvres Gens " , both brothers and their sister take the waifs in ,even though they do not know if it can be sustained ;instead of stupidly blaming the army, Joseph takes a genuine rebel stand :the future may seem bleak ,as far as their protégés ' fate is concerned , but they have now a reason to live .

    By several respects ,Robert Guédiguian works like John Cassavetes used to do:like him ,he has his own actors (including his partner in life Ascaride) he uses ,but his approach is less oblique than that of the American director.
  • writers_reign19 January 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    Although I wasn't around it is, I suppose, reasonable to speculate that back in the nineteen thirties keen filmgoers looked forward to a new film from Marcel Pagnol one, more than likely featuring one of his regular players, Raimu, Fernandel, Charpin and set in the Midi. True or not I have learned to look forward to a new film from Robert Guidguian, who also has something of a repertory company in the shape of his wife, Ariane Ariscaride and leading men Jean-Pierre Darrousin and Gerard Meylan and likely as not set in and/or around Marseilles,, the hometown of both director and actress. He was back in 2017 with The House By The Sea which has just opened here and it is well up to snuff with a definite Chekovian feel in the melancholic tale of three siblings caring for a widowed father who can no longer take care of himself. As with Chekov there are supplementary characters, the elderly neighbors, their attentive son, the much younger girlfriend of one of the two brothers. All excel. As he often does Guideguian injects a Left-wing philosophy which makes him a sort of Ken Loach but with talent instead of attitude. In sum another fine film from a gifted film maker.
  • leoncohen32 March 2019
    Nice, deep, good actors, great story, beautiful paysage
  • My only other viewing of a Guédiguian film is Une histoire de fou (A history of madness) released with the incongruous and ludicrous English title Don't tell me the boy was mad. It deals with Armenian expats in France and then those who wage war against an unforgivable past.

    In La villa (The house by the sea) the director uses Ariane Ascaride again as the central character. After a twenty years absence owing to trauma Angéle returns to the villa of her ailing father. Unlike Une histoire de fou, La villa doesn't rely on a fast moving plot. There are secrets, there is suspense, there are unexpected developments, but it's gentle and 'slice of life' cinema not blockbuster.

    I've noticed on reviewer giving it one star and calling it boring. One has to live this movie. It's akin to a Chekhov play and all the characters (with the possible exception of the children) unfold softly and with immense understanding. There are shades of The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya. Not in circumstance, but in the inner lives of the characters. Angéle can easily be a mixture of Nina, Irina Arkadina and Jeljéna. Her brothers Armand and Joseph are also reminiscent of the Russian master's works. So are the neighbours, their son (Yvan) and the smitten fisherman.

    There are no emotional or real summer thunderstorms or winter blizzards. La villa contains real people with day to day needs and wants and at the same time unfulfilled dreams and passions.

    The four young visitors who are only seen in two brief scenes could be a jarring note, but then again they portray those with sheer hedonistic goals as opposed to the inhabitants of the villa and their lifelong neighbours.

    Yet the family is not totally cut off from the world. Political intrigue also touches their lives but in a humane and personal way.

    This is slow cinema at its best with excellent script, editing, direction and acting. The lack of underscoring music is also refreshing. However: La Villa is not for those who can only think in sound bytes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What we have here is a very small scale French drama about a family getting together after their elderly father becomes bed-bound in a picturesque seaside town. Other things happen as well, like plenty of romantic tension, a tragic double suicide and the discovery of some homeless child migrants, and basically by the end EVERYTHING. HAS. CHANGED. Mwhaha.

    Aside from some annoying behaviour on the part of some lovestruck men who just won't take 'no' for an answer (seriously, why do so many movies confuse stalker-ish traits for true love?) everyone here is a likeable character, portrayed by good actors. We follow their turbulent lives with interest, and though there are no big fireworks like if this were a hysterical soap opera, there's still plenty of meat to get your teeth into. You won't be bored, is all I'm saying.

    So yea, a decent way to pass the time. Give it a try. 6/10
  • pg-tsinc31 March 2018
    La Villa (The House by the sea) Film 'plug' that looks like the work of a filmmaker who looks at his filmography and takes himself in 'selfie'. In short, a good film. No more. We flatten ourselves in front of the extraordinary talent of the actors ... well, the theme is probably serious and more serious, but I found the acting unconvincing and often forced or nonchalant. A movie that especially bored me because I am not impressed when I see the actors leaning on crutches. They chain smoke cigarettes (obvious plugs), drink their usual boos and eat their baloney to punctuate their deep eternal reflections (always the same for 30 years), with the same actors, on the same issues, on justice, loyalty and the end of the world. By the way, as this film also revolves around the tragedy of 'illness', according to the World Health Organization, alcohol would kill 3 millions people a year, tobacco would kill 8 millions and the junk food up to 20 millions a year ... Yes I know, except for Doctors, it is not an interesting subject of meditation.
  • lallo-217 January 2019
    It's quite rare to watch a so boring film. Not well done. There is no story, no structure. Actors act less than mediocrly. In many parts the scenes are not even credible. A waste of time and money.
  • In a cove not far from Marseille, the actress Angèle joins her two brothers in their birthplace, where following a drama, she has not set foot for 20 years. All three are gathered around their father, diminished by a stroke. An opportunity for them to take stock of their lives, the evolution of society and what remains of their ideals and commitments.

    As melancholy and twilight as Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard", from which the script is very freely adapted, "The Villa" sings the sad lament of lost illusions . « The Villa » is no longer about a cherry orchard but revolves around a quality restaurant at moderate prices nestled in the hollow of a southern cove. Two brothers and their sister (an actress who returns to her childhood home for the first time in twenty years) meet up with their father who has suffered a stroke. It is an opportunity for them to take stock of their lives, of the evolution of the world and what remains of their ideals. The outcome is not a happy one: just like the father's restaurant, still held at arm's length by one of the two sons, is threatened, their constituent values (humanism, solidarity, the fight for justice) are are questioned by a society that is now gangrenous with ultra-liberalism.... Robert Guédiguian's spokespersons are none other than his three fetish actors, Ariane Ascaride (all in thwarted tenderness), Jean-Pierre Darroussin (and his weary irony) and Gérard Meylan (a figure of uncompromising fidelity to his initial ideals), who have evolved alongside him over three decades. A good idea of the director is to include in the 2016 film an excerpt from "Ki lo sa", shot in 1986, featuring our three musketeers still fresh and naïve. It is both touching and striking. In the end, a disenchanted film, but not as radical as Chekhov's play. In this damaged world, there are still a few positive points left, the superb Calanque de Méjean, the gentle smile of Bérangère (radiant Anaïs Demoustier), a fisherman in love with theater, a moving reconciliation and even, in the last part, the revelation of a new battle to be fought. Bitterness certainly, but neither sourness nor boredom
  • So many clichés, this film really tests one's gullibility as well as one's patience. Embarrassing.