Summer Hours (Blu-Ray) (Criterion Collection)

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Product Overview

Widely hailed by critics as 2009's best film, Summer Hours is the great contemporary French filmmaker Olivier Assayas's most personal film to date. Three siblings, played by Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, and Jeremie Renier, must decide what to do with the country estate and objects they've inherited from their mother. From this simple story, Assayas creates a nuanced, exquisitely made drama about the material of globalized modern living. Naturalistic and unsentimental yet suffused with genuine warmth, this is that rare film that pays respect to family by treating it with honesty.


Studio Image Entertainment
SKU 213887528
UPC 715515056816
UPC 14 00715515056816
Format Blu-Ray DVD
Release Date 4/20/2010
Family Interaction
Family Life
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note French director Olivier Assayas (BOARDING GATE, IRMA VEP) subverts expectations with this empathetic drama about the fading relevance of objects as generations pass from one to the next. Helene (Edith Scob) has just turned 75 and is increasingly concerned about the particulars of leaving her estate behind when she dies. Unfortunately, the time comes when Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), Jeremie (Jeremie Renier), and Frederic (Charles Berling) must decide what to do with Helene's house and the artwork left behind by her famous uncle. Adrienne, who is living in New York City, and Jeremie, who is working in Asia, both understand that their future no longer resides in France, leaving the burden to Frederic. However, even when the siblings are at odds, they don't succumb to fighting. They seem to understand and accept that this is an unfortunate, muddled situation, and as much as they'd love to hold on to the house, it appears that their current situations carry more of an influence than the lives of their nostalgic past.^With SUMMER HOURS, Assayas has delivered an understated motion picture about the importance of objects as historical artifacts and family heirlooms, and how time renders these objects obsolete. Contrary to the dysfunctional family dramas of fellow countryman Arnaud Desplechin (A CHRISTMAS TALE, KINGS AND QUEEN), Assayas keeps his characters calm and stable throughout. He isn't condemning these individuals for turning their backs on the past, and he certainly isn't out to belittle the importance of these objects' places in history. Shot by the acclaimed Eric Gautier and flawlessly acted by its principal cast, SUMMER HOURS is a touching, thoughtful drama.
Total Film 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]ough, tender and very talky. Intimately observed and told with an inquisitive, prodding camera..." 02/01/2009
Box Office 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] masterful movie....Assayas presents a contemplative etude on the passage of time and the markings of material and spiritual loss." 04/23/2009
Entertainment Weekly "Director Oliver Assayas' tender, sun-kissed, Chekhovian drama brims with life and loveliness even as it meditates on the loss of childhood." -- Grade: A 05/22/2009
New York Times "[An] extraordinary film....Packed nearly to bursting with rich meaning and deep implications." 05/15/2009
USA Today 3 stars out of 4 -- "This bittersweet meditation on familial bonds, the passage of youth and the merits of tradition is deeply nuanced and strikes just the right emotional notes....The four main portrayals are outstanding, so natural and believable that you are drawn in to their story immediately." 05/15/2009 ,Ranked #10 in USA Today's "Top Ten Films Of 2009." 12/31/2009
A.V. Club "SUMMER HOURS has an appealingly lyrical look, and is well-acted by a cast of French cinema vets..." -- Grade: B 05/14/2009
Chicago Sun-Times 3 stars out of 4 -- "What happens is that the film builds its emotional power by stealth, indirectly, refusing to be a tearjerker, always realistic, and yet observing how very sad it is to see a large part of your life disappear." 05/20/2009
Washington Post "[A] warmhearted family drama....The lineage of SUMMER HOURS, with its exploration of the changing traditions of family life, stretches all the way back to Chekhov..." 05/22/2009
Wall Street Journal "Much of SUMMER HOURS, which was shot by the excellent Eric Gautier, feels like a Chekhov play and resonates like Schubert quartet; it's a work of singular loveliness." 05/29/2009
Los Angeles Times "SUMMER HOURS proves a sharply incisive, yet poignant look at how we decide what bits of our past to keep and what to let go of." 06/04/2009
Olivier Assayas
Juliette Binoche
Charles Berling
Jérémie Rénier
Cast & Crew
Kyle Eastwood - Star
Dominique Reymond - Star
Juliette Binoche - Star
Isabelle Sadoyan - Star
Edith Scob - Star
Charles Berling - Star
Jérémie Rénier - Star
Valérie Bonneton - Star
Marin Karmitz - Producer
Eric Gautier - Director of Photography
Olivier Assayas - Screenwriter
Charles Gillibert - Producer
Nathanael Karmitz - Producer
Olivier Assayas - Director
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2008
UPC 00715515056816
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 103 minutes
Color Color
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review Sometimes what holds a family together is custom and guilt. Summer Hours begins on the 75th birthday of Helene, a woman who is joined in the French countryside by her three children and their families. Much of the talk is about how far two of the children had to travel -- one from New York, the other from China -- and there's the sense they're eager to be going home. Sure, they love their mother. They really do. But you know how it is. They visit less because they should visit more...Helene understands this. She understands a great deal. She pulls aside Frederic (Charles Berling), her only child still living in France, to talk about the handling of her estate. This makes him unhappy, but she produces an inventory of the sort women often keep, of her valued possessions. Tea sets, vases, paintings...There are two long-standing facts of the family that are discussed, really, for the first time. What exactly was the nature of the long relationship between Helene and her uncle? And how is Eloise to be treated -- Eloise, the family's cook and housekeeper since time immemorial? Olivier Assayas, the writer-director, doesn't treat these subjects as melodrama but as the sorts of things adult children naturally discuss. They're much more effective that way...What happens is that the film builds its emotional power by stealth, indirectly, refusing to be a tearjerker, always realistic, and yet observing how very sad it is to see a large part of your life disappear. A parent, for example. In Errol Morris' "Gates of Heaven," these perfect words are spoken: "Death is for the living, and not for the dead so much."...The actors all find the correct notes. It is a French film, and so they are allowed to be adult and intelligent. They are not the creatures of a screenplay that hurries them along. The film is not about what will happen. It is about them. The recent American film that most resembles this one is Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married." Some audience members didn't know what to think of it, because it didn't tell them. Sometimes you just have to figure out what you think for yourself. Summer Hours ends on the perfect note, the more you think about it.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 8
Product Attributes
Video Format Blu-Ray
David Edelstein, New York Magazine Hats off to Olivier Assayas's plain yet hauntingly beautiful Summer Hours, a true--albeit nonsecular--meditation on art and eternal life.
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly Brims with life and loveliness even as it meditates on the loss of childhood.

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