My Old Lady
Showings 4:30, 7:00 and 9:10pm
For more than fifty years, the plays of Israel Horovitz — from The Indian Wants the Bronx (which launched the careers of Al Pacino and the late John Cazale) to the more recent What Strong Fences Make — have spoken to us fearlessly, often playfully, about the world we live in. Now in his mid-seventies, Horovitz has neither slowed down nor narrowed his ambitions: with My Old Lady, he makes his feature-film debut as writer-director.
New Yorker Mathias (Kevin Kline, The Last of Robin Hood) journeys to Paris after learning that he has inherited a spacious apartment from his estranged father. Mathias hopes to liquidate his new property and return home, but his plan hits a snag when he discovers that the elderly Mathilde (Maggie Smith, Quartet, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and her daughter (Kristin Scott Thomas, The Invisible Woman, Sarah’s Key) are inhabiting the space and have no inclination — nor a legally enforceable reason — to leave. The apartment, he learns, is what the French call a viager, which, in accordance with centuries-old tradition, will not revert to his possession until its present occupant passes away. As he attempts to sell his contract to profit from a losing deal — even resorting to blackmail in the process — Mathias comes to learn more about Mathilde, and his father, than he’d ever intended.