Mathias (Kevin Klein) is 57, broke and broken. His only chance is to sell a multi million dollar apartment that his deceased father has left him in his will. On arriving to Paris, however, he finds an unwanted resident - an old lady Mathilde (Maggie Smith). According to the original contract Mathias cannot take full control of the apartment until Mathilde dies. Having no other choice but to stay Mathias befriends his old lady and her daughter Chloe (Kristin Scott Thomas). Mathilde seems to harbour a secret from her past that will impact everyone around her. Will it bring a relief or sorrow?
The problem with the movie based on a play is the danger that it could drag and get boring. The dialogue delivery in theatre is not the same as in the movie, and what seems natural on stage can be pompous and fake when put on screen. Fortunately MY OLD LADY avoids that. This deceptively light-hearted drama has the best cast you could wish for. Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott-Thomas are expected to be good, but we all have forgotten what a great actor Kevin Klein is. His Mathias is full of charisma, and as darker sides of his characters emerge little by little he keeps getting our sympathy.
But it is supporting cast that guaranteed MY OLD LADY’s success.
Noemie Lvovsky has only two scenes as a family doctor, but somehow she manages to outshine her more famous colleagues. Dominique Pinion is quirky and fun to watch as a “real Parisian” real estate agent, who, according to his own words, “lives in the vein of it all”.
If you expect to see a lot of Paris in the movie you will be disappointed. We get a few scenes shot near Notre Dame, but that’s about it. In a way that is not so bad for a movie the whole length of which is determined by a dialogue and overexpanded scenes could have made it longer than it’s good for it.
Above the main plot of the family drama, the story offers some interesting thoughts about fathers and sons relationships (as well as mothers and daughters) and almost makes us believe that it is never to late to accept the past and start again.