Last Love

Year: 2013
Production Co: Kaminski.Stiehm.Film GmbH
Director: Sandra Nettlebeck
Writer: Sandra Nettlebeck
Cast: Michael Caine, Clémence Poésy, Gillian Anderson, Justin Kirk

It's hard to imagine what would make a winsome young French woman befriend a cranky old American man so easily, but the relationship that blooms between dance instructor Pauline (Clémence Poésy) and widower Matthew (Michael Caine) in contemporary Paris is never really explained, we're just expected to accept it.

But blossom it does, while the latter is busy locking himself away from life following the death of his soulmate wife, who (in an oft-trod device) reappears to offer homilies on how he should get on with his life.

The parts of the whole are strangely disconnected from each other, the friendship that forms taking a good 45 minutes before Matthew's adult kids arrive (Anderson and Kirk) to introduce a whole new plot, haranguing him about the life he's leading, cavorting platonically with a woman a third his age and trying to get him to sell the family home so they can get their grasping hands on their share.

But the grumpy Matthew is having none of it, realising he only wants to hang around the preternaturally sweet Pauline and wile away his last few years.

The premise is none too exciting to begin with (and we've seen it a million times before) and the plot is plodding and dull. Poésy does her best with very sluggish material but it's Caine that shows up his fatal flaws. I'm sure most will disagree with me, but just because he's had a long career doesn't make him a great actor. He's actually very limited, and the atrocious (and pointless) American accent he tries to put on here yanks (see what I did there?) you out of the movie every time he speaks.

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