Resnais’ last feature is an ebullient, beautifully stylised adaptation of the work of British playwright Alan Ayckbourn – whom he turned to twice before – aided by a dazzling ensemble cast. In the English countryside, the life of three couples is disturbed by a character we shall constantly hear about but never see: the enigmatic George Riley. The terminally ill man is the focus for various people affected by his life: his best friend Jack (Michel Vuillermoz), urges George’s estranged young wife Monica (Sandrine Kiberlain) to return to her ailing husband during the final six months of his life; meanwhile, George’s doctor Colin (Hippolyte Girardot) attempts to obscure news of George’s illness from his gossipy wife (Sabine Azéma), who spends much of her time reflecting on life with Jack’s partner (Caroline Silhol). With a blatantly fictitious studio setting and purposely mannered performances, Resnais once again exposes the quotidian deceptions of suburban couples.
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