My Old Lady

Art & Culture

Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas would be enough to encourage most people to go and see this, but the good news is that the film is good enough in its own right to deserve your attention. What might have been a cheesy comedy turns out to be a quite enjoyable drama.

Kline plays a middle aged American who arrives in Paris to claim the apartment that has been left to him by his father. It's a large flat in the centre of Paris with a value of somewhere in the region of £10 million, which will make life a lot easier for someone who hasn't got much going for him, apart from a period of coping without alcohol. So he is somewhat disconcerted to discover not only that there is an elderly woman (Maggie Smith) living there along with her sharp-tongued daughter (KST), but that under French law, they are allowed to go living there until the mother dies, AND that he has to pay them rent to do so.

Under normal circumstances, you might have expected this to turn into a not very amusing comedy about french bureaucracy, but in fact the film takes a more interesting turn as Kline has to face some uncomfortable aspects of his past, and the two women reveal themselves to be more complex than we might have expected.

It's not a major creative achievement, but it's very enjoyable, and surprisingly surprising.