My Old Lady

6.41 h 47 min2014X-RayPG-13
Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas star in this witty and heartfelt drama about surprising inheritances and unexpected connections.
Israel Horovitz
Kevin KlineKristin Scott ThomasMaggie Smith
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Stephane FreissDominique PinonNoemie Lvovsky
Rachael HorovitzGary FosterNitsa BenchetritDavid C. Barrot
Universal Pictures
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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4.0 out of 5 stars

6934 global ratings

  1. 44% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 27% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 17% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

GryphonisleReviewed in the United States on May 11, 2015
3.0 out of 5 stars
Quietly Beautiful And Increasingly Intense Drama Advertised As A Romantic Comedy.
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This is another of those films where all the funny bits made it into the previews, leaving nothing to surprise the viewer in the actual film, aside from the fact that it's not nearly as funny as one was led to believe. "Blue Jasmine" worked this to the nth degree, but "My Old Lady" isn't nearly so grim, and Paris gets much better treatment than San Francisco did.

Mathias Gold (Kline) has inherited a house and garden from his late father, in the fashionable Marais district of Paris. The problem is, according to a long standing French legal arrangement, the house comes with Maggie Smith (which would seem to be something of a dream come true, at least for a while) playing a 91 year old english woman, Mathilde Girard, who'd sold the house to the elder Mr. Gold, after her husband had died.

Forty one years ago.

As part of the deal, the late Mr. Gold was to pay Mme Girard twenty four hundred euros a month until her death, at which time he could claim the house. Unfortunately, Mr. Gold has now died, and Mme Girard is still going strong. And Mr. Gold the younger, a middle aged man himself, has sold everything he has to get to Paris, where he had intended to sell the damn house and live off the proceeds.

Life has other plans...

It turns out that Mr. Gold has issues regarding his dad, and his dad's cheating on his mother. It also happens that the house has secrets, and one of them has to do with Mme Girard, and her daughter, who lives with her. Working out Mr. Gold's issues and the house's secrets is where the movie keeps the meat of the story, little of which proves funny, and only adds to the drama as the story moves along. Kevin Kline gets to put his acting chops on full display and it's rather impressive.

So the viewer goes in expecting a comedy, gets tricked into a fairly decent drama, and the entire experience is rather rewarding. What really makes the film though is its low key atmosphere (similar in many ways to "Blue Jasmine"s finer moments) and the music which sets and holds the tone. It's a beautiful if well worn world these people inhabit inside the house, and of course, it's Paris every time they step out the door. The movie is quietly simmering with activity.

All in all a very nice way to pass an afternoon.
48 people found this helpful
ShaneReviewed in the United States on July 17, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Poignant, intelligent, and insightful. A delightful film.
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I really liked this movie. It's not fast moving, or stellar, or anything like that. A middle aged man who has failed at pretty much everything he has ever attempted inherits an apartment building in France from his father. Thinking he can sell it and get his life back on track, he makes a trip to see it in person. An elderly woman lives there and he tells her he is the new owner and is selling the place. He feels a bit cheated as his father is buried "somewhere in Europe" and his money went to an "undisclosed charity," but at least he got a house - right? Imagine his frustration when he learns that his father bought the house from the woman; she is to be allowed to live there for the rest of her life and continue to be paid the monthly payment his father made to her while he was alive. Wait, what? He inherited a house that is really a debt even if he sells it?

She is cantankerous. intelligent, but not without feeling, as only Maggie Smith can play. Her daughter, however - who happens to be currently living in the apartment, as well - is protective of her mother so doesn't think highly of the new landlord so naturally, they clash at every turn.

As the man seeks a buyer willing to purchase the house with the viager, he discovers a number of things: the adulterous relationship his father had with the woman for many years, the affair the woman's daughter is having with a married man, why the house is important to both of them. and countless old photos that the woman reluctantly, carefully, and selectively explains.

As each side learns about the other, there is regret but understanding, and in the end compassion. Relationships are very different when viewed from within than from without. This story is a perfect example of why you shouldn't judge another until you've walked in their shoes. All sides have suffered pain but in the end, there can be solace in shared pain. But how you get there is a unique journey. While the movie lagged a bit for me in the middle, I'm glad I stuck with it because I love how the three major characters traveled emotionally before reaching common ground. it is not a movie I will soon forget.
17 people found this helpful
T.B.Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Therapy!
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I saw this movie for the purpose of adding to my own self discovery, journey and healing. Even though these particularly parental issues are not something I experienced, I believe the fundamental issue that is raised and argued between parents and children is one of the largest that can lead to so much pain and disfunction. No matter the negative details of upbringing, when the child does not get true nourishing love, there will be much damage in that individuals life. But once realized that person can take their own life in their own hands and learn to love themselves and be loved. They can stop waiting for and expecting the love, attention or understanding they wanted and needed from a parent that was not - able, capable or interested in giving it.
4 people found this helpful
Addison DewittReviewed in the United States on June 17, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Oldest Story Told With Aplomb
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A lot of people seem to want life tied up in a nice package with a beautiful bow on top. All problems cleared up, all possible disasters averted and everyone lives happily. Sorry, kids. Life is messy and improbable. This film is messy, wonderfully so. People meet other people even if they are married sometimes. And love leads them into places they should not have gone. And it gets difficult. And their loved ones get hurt.

To be able to illuminate this kind of mess in such a colorful, quirky way, with such wonderful dialogue, good acting and a beautiful backdrop takes some doing. To do it and keep viewers engaged takes even more. All three main actors do a great job at portraying the messy, mixed up lives they lead and the story does resolve itself happily, but there's some pain before you get there. Hey, that's just like real life, isn't it? Bon nuit!
7 people found this helpful
J. C. McleeReviewed in the United States on April 20, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the best movies I'd never heard of!
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As usual, Maggie Smith nails it. Has she ever been bad in anything? If so, I've never seen it. I've always liked Kevin Kline, and in this role he is very effective. It would be very easy to dislike his character, but somehow he makes him sympathetic, even when he's being a jerk. And Kristin Scott-Thomas is always good - she is just so beautiful, and it's nice to look at her. The script has an unusual story, not the usual regurgitated story you've seen over and over again. While it's worth watching until the end, the middle is difficult to get through because Kevin Kline's character has some really big problems and it's very uncomfortable (for me, anyway, plus I didn't know how things would turn out). The location is beautiful -- not the Paris we're used to seeing again and again, but a very specific and lovely, small slice of a real neighborhood in Paris. Highly recommend this movie. It has everything -- beautiful location, wonderful acting, and a very interesting and well-written story.
12 people found this helpful
CryeffReviewed in the United States on January 17, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Real, Authentic, Have pain in your heart from being cheated, either as spouse or child of cheater? Or cheater yourself. SEE this
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I have been getting sick of films that said nothing, meant nothing, pretended people were happier, prettier, stronger, smarter than they are; and this is NOT one of those films. It is real.

Real, but hopeful. Real, but redeeming to the spirit, exciting in possibilities, darkly funny.

The acting, photography and story were filmed, and written in such a way as to feel thorough enough so you don't feel cheated with skips in the train of though, or made to finish the story yourself in your head.

Kevin Kline plays a 57 year old man (without a bunch of lying makeup to make him better than what a normal person would be), who after 3 failed marriages, has nothing and no one. His father, who was very wealthy, died and left him nothing except for an apartment in Paris. So he uses the last of his money to go there.

He finds that what he thought was his property outright, is not. The property was sold to his father as a "viager" agreement. This is basically a reverse annuity mortgage or Remainder Trust. Where A buys the property, and agrees to allow B to continue to live in the property for as long as they live, AND for as long as they live will also pay them an agreed amount of money, either in a lump sum or in payments.

This is the "Old Lady." But the story is NOT about the old lady. It is an EXAMINATION of what can happen to families when one of the parents cheat. It is about the pain this causes, the devastation it takes on the lives of the victims of the adulterers. And if the story ended just there, this story would be OK but a downer, and not worth watching for me.

There is always a place for people that point out what is wrong in life; but then what? Just saying what is wrong is like complaining, just the beginning of the process. That is depressing if it is just complaining. It drains you. BUT for those that give you an idea of how to fix what is broken, how to move past what is wrong to making it right; now THAT is what most of our souls crave. And what this story helps us do.

There is the damage, the exploration of the damage, the moving past of the tunnel vision on solely the self so that the world starts to come in view again, and then there is hope of life...again. THIS is this film.

In psychology, often you can not speak directly TO people about what they are doing wrong, or what they are feeling in their is too threatening to them and they will close you out. So therapists often use films. In films you can see what is happening, without getting defensive and blocking the realization.

So this film might help cheaters, understand the pain they cause their wives and children. The children of parents absorbed in their nightmares so that they emotionally abandon the child. The cheated on spouse who thinks they are being brave for their children. IT could help in many combinations there.

The photography, seems a little drab and dark at first. (I often enjoy seeing beautiful places and hope for this when I am watching a movie that is in an exotic place) BUT it is right. It makes you focus on the story, the acting, the people. Which you would not want to miss, like "Today is a shadow of tomorrow" and " A flower when it is at it's most beautiful, is right before it becomes old".

The acting of Kline sometimes seems a little awkward, but this may have been done purposefully as his is an awkward, out of sinc kind of person. AND as in most of what he does, is superb. I don't remembered names, but the other actors, ALL of them right to the bit parts, are extremely well done.

BUT on top of it all, it is a well made, thoughtful film that is entertaining, that you don't feel like you have wasted 1 hour and 40 minutes of your life. A film that leaves you feeling a little emotionally washed and energized to start again with hope.

This film is a gem, a pearl. Savor it when you have the time to really sink in.
225 people found this helpful
seaheatherReviewed in the United States on October 1, 2016
3.0 out of 5 stars
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A strange movie dominated by an apartment. The place in which most of the movie takes place is like another character -- the central motif and motivation of all the action that takes place within it and because of it. The acting is excellent but the story itself lacks verisimilitude. We are asked to believe that a 57 year old man, seemingly normal though not especially happy with his life and circumstances, will become unglued when he learns his Dad had an affair. His reaction, even when it appears he also lost his mother decades earlier because of the infidelity, feels extreme. Meanwhile, as the result of a casual comment, the Kristin Scott Thomas character ends an affair she has been having with a married man. This decision also seems unrealistic and arbitrary. Finally, two relative strangers become romantically involved way too quickly, given the back story and the repressed and furtive natures they express. Given the excellence of the production and the quality of the acting it would not be possible to dislike the overall experience. But the ability to believe in the characters and the changes that take place in their relationships seems forced upon them rather than an unfoldment to which the viewer can comfortably relate.
One person found this helpful
lawyeraauReviewed in the United States on February 22, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
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If one is looking for a romantic comedy, this would not be it. While it has some amusing moments, it is most definitely not comedic, overall. It is the story of Mathias, a sad, miserable, unhappy fifty-seven year old man (Kevin Kline), whose wealthy but estranged father has died but has left him nothing in his will other than an apartment in a good neighborhood in Paris, France. So, off he goes to Paris to start life anew, having divested himself of his old one. Arriving virtually penniless, he discovers that all is not as he expected.

It seems that the apartment is occupied by a ninety something woman (Maggie Smith) and her middle-aged daughter (Kristen Scott Thomas). The elderly woman apparently has a legal right to occupy the apartment til she dies, and the inheritor is also obligated to pay her twenty three hundred euros a month while she is occupancy. Needless to say, Mathias is decidedly unhappy with the arrangement and schemes to try and secure the apartment for himself. Along the way, he learns some unvarnished truths about his father and himself.

While Maggie Smith is as droll and charming as ever, and Kristen Scott Thomas's performance is excellent, I can't say the same about Kevin Kline. His character is totally repellent, and he utterly fails in making himself the least bit likeable. Even when he has a somewhat redemptive moment at the end, it rings false. Consequently, the movie remains mired in mediocrity.

Now, Kevin Kline is normally a fine actor, so it could be the script. Still, if one does not care about his character, one will not care about this film, which really only gets a save due to Maggie Smith's performance. On the upside, the cinematography is quite nice and captures the flavor of Paris. Still, it is an otherwise mediocre film from which one will derive only a modicum of enjoyment. So, watch this film only if you have nothing better to do.
2 people found this helpful
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