For fans of veteran director Alain Resnais, Aimer, Boire et Chanter (Life of Riley), his final film before he died this March, is a fitting end to a career which spanned over six decades and produced such masterpieces as Hiroshima Mon Amour, Last Year in Marienbad and On Connait la Chanson (Same Old Song). For those less familiar with the work of this French auteur, the film is slow and dated with a mannered and stilted dialogue devoid of wit and originality.
his was Resnais’ third adaptation of an Ayckbourne play and features the same focus on the English middle-classes and marital breakdown. Three couples from a Yorkshire village in the north of England learn their good friend George is dying of cancer and has only months to live. Kathyrn (Sabine Azéma) is married to dull Dr Colin (Hippolyte Girardot), Tamara (Caroline Silhol) lives a comfortable life with the rich, philandering Jack (Michel Vuillermoz), while mousey Monica (Sandrine Kiberlaine) has left George to set up home in the middle of nowhere with Simeon (André Dussolier). The news of George’s imminent demise throws these relationships into chaos revealing frustrations and misery previously masked by habit and routine and that, oh so British, stiff upper lip.