As the sun sets on a chapter of history, a beautiful estate in the countryside outside of Paris becomes the setting for this intricate meditation on art and history: What makes an object valuable? How is globalization changing our values? How is it changing the role of art in culture, the way things are made, and what we do with them?
This sounds very cerebral, but Olivier Assayas’ film Summer Hours is an intoxicating family drama about a woman with a scandalous secret; the haunted works of art she guards in her home; the challenges facing her children, who are grown, married, and living far from home; her preparations for death; and her desires regarding the future of her estate and its treasures.
A radiant ensemble cast, including Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, and Jeremie Renier, bring this family to life, navigating complicated emotional territory. As we watch a world rich with history and secrets fading before our eyes, we’ll share realizations of deep loss and discomforting secrets, and we’ll catch glimpses of a new world full of energy and freedom. In its closing scene, Summer Hours takes a sudden turn that will be exhilarating for some viewers and heartbreaking for others.