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Film / My Old Lady

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"If you do not love me I shall not be loved."

My Old Lady is a 2014 British/French/American dramedy film directed by Israel Horovitz as his directorial debut. The film stars Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Mathias Gold — a cynical, a down-on-his-luck New Yorker and former alcoholic — travels to Paris to sell a large, valuable apartment he inherited from his estranged father. However, he discovers an old woman, Mathilde, living in the apartment with her daughter Chloe. Mathias learns that the apartment is a "viager" — an ancient French system for buying and selling apartments — and that he will not actually get possession of the apartment until the day Mathilde dies… and that he owes her a pension of €2400 a month. Apparently, his father failed to mentioned this.

Flat broke and with no place to go, Mathilde allows him to stay in the apartment as long as he pays the rent. All the while, he butts heads with Chloe, who makes it clear that he is not welcome in her home. But the situation take a sudden turn when Mathilde unveils a secret, and how Mathias will handle this revelation.


  • Ate His Gun: How Mrs. Gold killed herself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chloe and Mathias get together. However, they still have their issues to deal with, and Mathilde never really pays for her actions.
  • Broken Bird: Both Mathias and Chloe, thanks to the neglect of their parents. No wonder they fall for each other in the end.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Thankfully subverted. Chloe's mother and Mathias' father carried on a lengthy affair, and as result they are afraid of being siblings, since they discover the affair after they are already in a relationship. They aren't.
  • Bungled Suicide: Mathias cut his wrists at the age of forty and ended up in the hospital. His mother attempted suicide 10 to 15 times and ultimately succeeded.
  • Cool Old Lady: Subverted with Mathilde. It's hard to think of her this way after she reveals her deluded attitude towards Mathias and Chloes' trauma and misery.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Mathias (a former alcoholic) takes up drinking again when he finds out that his father was having an affair with Mathilde.
    Mathias: (to a passing couple) Bonsoir. The end of my wagonhood. Cheers.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Mathias isn't exactly a paragon of virtue, but he definitely thinks that infidelity is a no-no.
  • Generation Xerox: Chloe is having an affair with a family man. Her mother and Mathias' father carried on a lengthy affair.
  • Grade System Snark: In the end, as he begins the process of healing, Mathias acknowledges that his father did a good thing to send him to Paris. However, he still gives his father a three on a scale of one-hundred.
  • It's All About Me: Mathias is definitely this in his quest to sell the apartment. However, the apartment is his, and he honestly needs the money. Mathilde seems to believe that her affair was a-okay because she stayed in her marriage and provided a home for her daughter. She admits that she stayed in her marriage because her husband was more successful, and it seemed to be the better plan.
  • Jerkass: Max Gold. Let's see... cheated on his wife for the entirety of their marriage, neglected his family...oh, and he didn't bother to visit Mathias in the hospital (due a suicide attempt no less!) and he was only six blocks away! Can somebody say asshole? However, he immediately stopped seeing Mathilde after his wife committed suicide, and only spoke to her through letters.
  • Kick the Dog: Mrs. Gold committed suicide right in front of Mathias. The effects were lasting.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Mathias and Chloe suspect that they are brother and sister after discovering that her mother and his father carried an affair. Which causes… problems, since Mathias and Chloe are themselves in a relationship with each other. Her mother, Mathilde, denies it at first… before admitting that she doesn't know. In the end, Mathias gets a DNA test, proving that they are in fact "NOT family", putting an end to the drama.
  • Never My Fault: Mathilde never seems to own up to the fact that Mathias and Chloe's unhappiness is the result of her affair with Max. Subverted, however, by her reaction to Mathias' accusations, she might simply be in denial. And she collapses when Mathias tells her that his mother killed herself, revealing that Max lied to her, saying his wife died of an illness.
  • Parental Neglect: Max obliviously didn't win "Dad of the Year" Award. Chloe claims that her father had no love for her because he thought she wasn't his daughter.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mathias gives Mathilde a few of these after she admits that she was having an affair with his father. He also gives one to Chloe when he confronts her about her affair with Phillipe. She later takes this to heart and ends the affair.
    Matthias: So, uh, tell me. Who's the guy in the restaurant?
    Chloe: What?
    Mattias: The guy in the restaurant. He looked familiar. I think I saw him duck into a hotel with you the other day. But today he didn't seem quite so happy to see you, what with the wife and all, the kids.
    Chloe: How dare you!
    Mathias: Oh, I dare! You give me all that holier-than-thou crap about family and tradition, and you're doing the hoopie with somebody's husband, some kid's dad? And I'm a heartless bastard because I want to sell an apartment?
    Chloe: This is not your affair.
    Mathias: Oh. Good choice of words.
  • Scenery Porn: Inevitable. This is Paris.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Mathilde doesn't seem to realize that her affair made Chloe's childhood miserable or that her lover was a ousy father and a jerkass husband.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: As a child, Mathias once resorted to self-harm to distract his mother from killing herself.
  • Wham Line: "Your father and I were lovers...since I was 29." From here on, the film shifts gears, and the drama kicks in.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mathias calls Chloe out on her affair with Phillipe, a married man with two children. Later, he mercilessly tears into Mathilde when he finds out about her affair with his father.