He is strongly drawn to Pauline and keeps going back to her class. Joan still appears to him at times, when he feels lonely and has the need to talk to her. It is a running joke that Matthew doesn't speak French, and only moved to France to please Joan, but for the first time in his life he tries to speak a little, with Pauline. Spending time with Pauline is helping Matthew to unthaw a little, but that becomes almost too painful for him to bear and he "self-medicates" himself into the hospital. As Matthew and Pauline try to understand what sort of relationship they are forming, Matthew's grown children, Miles and Karen (Justin Kirk and Gillian Anderson), with whom he's never been close, show up to complicate matters even further, "Joan wanted kids, and I just wanted her."
|Joan and Matthew in the park (Jane Alexander and Michael Caine)|
|Another lunch in the park, with Matthew and Pauline (Clémence Poésy)|
|Miles (Justin Kirk) and Karen (Gillian Anderson) in Paris to see their dad, reluctantly|
Director Sandra Nettelbeck (Mostly Martha) based Last Love on Francoise Dorner's novel La Douceur Assassine. She wrote the screenplay with Caine in mind, "I wrote the second script entirely for him. ... I couldn’t stop seeing him in my mind when I was writing ... He read it and said yes right away ... He understood what it was about and why I wanted him to do it.”
Caine and Poésy are very nice together, and the beautiful-looking film is full of emotional nuance. Viewers may at first dislike Matthew's son Miles, but he has a complicated relationship with his father and at least wants to try to understand him — while his sister Karen seems to have come to Paris, not to see her father in the hospital, but to go shopping. Last Love is about love, family, life, death, and grief. It's even got a bit of a twist. It's understated, but it's a nice showcase of 80 year-old acting veteran Michael Caine at the top of his game.
Originally published on Blogcritics: Blu-ray Review: ‘Last Love’