Olivier AssayasFrance102 minutes2008ColourFrench
Settling back in France after his globetrotting trio of demonlover, Clean and Boarding Gate, in Summer Hours Assayas also returns to his perennial exploration of the intricacies of family relations. Facing the imminent death of their aging mother (Edith Scob), siblings Frédéric (Charles Berling), Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) are forced to decide what to do with the country estate and the priceless objets d'art that have been their long-pending inheritance. While Frédéric passionately argues that they should preserve their familial legacy, Adrienne and Jérémie wish to sell off the house and its contents for the benefit of their own respective lives, careers and families — all of which have weakened their connection to both the reality and the concept of "home." Refusing to paint any of his characters as either heroes or villains, Assayas masterfully reflects on the passing of time, the gulf between generations, and how the bonds of family evolve and change in an ever more globalizing world. "Packed nearly to bursting with rich meaning and deep implication" (A.O. Scott, The New York Times); "The work of an artist at the height of his powers" (Sam Ishii-Gonzales, Senses of Cinema).