Summer Hours a Bittersweet Time

Critics charmed by simple piece
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 15, 2009 10:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Critics are enchanted by Summer Hours, a French story of three siblings (including a splendid Juliette Binoche) weighing what to do with their mother’s estate in a simple yet thought-provoking tale:

  • Don’t be fooled by the apparent modesty of its ambitions, writes AO Scott in the New York Times. Sometimes a small, homely object—a teapot, a writing desk, a sketchbook, a movie about such things—turns out to be a masterpiece.

  • “From familiar material, writer-director Olivier Assayas crafts a near perfect blend of humor and heartbreak, a lyrical masterwork that measures loss in terms practical and evanescent,” notes Peter Travers in Rolling Stone.
  • “Contemplative, but never aimless, Summer Hours is time well spent,” observes Claudia Puig in USA Today, “like taking a swim in a beautiful, seemingly placid lake where sharper undercurrents lie just below the surface.”