Continuing on with the Netflix A-Z mad dash to the finish line, I have to say that this choice was made for a few reasons. One of them is trying to find family-based movies. Then there’s Patricia Clarkson and she is always a fantastic actress. That is how Last Weekend ended up in the L selection, pushing the close second Laggies aside. I’ve never heard of it and don’t know what its about but hey, why not, right? The spontaneity is what makes Netflix A-Z so fun to do!
Let’s check it out!
Last Weekend (2014)
Director: Tom Dolby (writer) & Tom Williams
Cast: Patricia Clarkson, Chris Mulkey, Joseph Cross, Zachary Booth, Rutina Wesley, Fran Kranz, Alexia Rasmussen, Jayma Mays, Devon Graye
When an affluent matriarch gathers her dysfunctional family for a holiday at their Northern California lake house, her carefully constructed weekend begins to come apart at the seams, leading her to question her own role in the family. – IMDB
Last Weekend is full of familiar faces. Perhaps that may be one of the first things you will notice. Leading with Patricia Clarkson, we follow through with smaller supporting roles from Rutina Wesley (also known for her role as Tara in True Blood), and Fran Kranz (known for a ton of stuff including Dollhouse and Cabin in the Woods) and then we have Jayma Mays (from Glee) and personally for me, Alexia Rasmussen (from Listen to Your Heart). Lots of talent and potential just looking at the cast. Except, Last Weekend leaves me feeling a little empty. In some ways, I can get what the story is trying to portray except it executes the idea not well enough especially when the ending is rather empty with not a whole lot of resolution. Perhaps that is the depressing point in the finale, that family isn’t clear cut and for many issues, there is no resolution. In my mind, there should be less focus on the kids and what happens to them in this “last weekend” and more on Patricia Clarkson and her husband and her interactions because that would be more to see, except how long would a movie taking that angle take before its audience might find it monotonous. But then, in this case, I don’t agree with putting in scenes that never get addressed ever again, rendering them pointless.
One of the standout of Last Weekend is Patricia Clarkson and the setting. The house, the decor and the scenery is captivating to look at. Patricia Clarkson’s portrayal of a mother who can’t seem to and doesn’t want to let go of her kids and the fact that they have grown up and has left her care or let go of this last weekend of making a decision of whether she has made the right decision to sell this vacation house and all the things that she has grown attached to. It is a mother’s journey for the most part and Patricia Clarkson does a beautiful job and portraying it and making it believable as we try to understand her character. In many ways, it is the scenes that she is involved that make the movie shine the most, even in its most disjointed moments. One of my favorite ones is the one above when we finally see the connection between her daughter in law Vanessa (played by Alexia Rasmussen) and her, who she doesn’t have much fondness for, finally see something in common and she opens up to her a little more. As the audience, we can actually see the similarities between their personalities and its probably the nuance that her son chose someone similar to his parents.
Probably the hardest thing to like in Last Weekend are the characters as well. Contradicting to the top? Maybe a little. Because the sons here, Roger (played by Joseph Cross) and Theo (played by Zachary Booth) are incredibly annoying characters. In a way, you can see that they don’t want to be under the wings of their parents and they want to show that they have grown up but in many ways, they also lack the sensitivity to try to understand her or remember to check up on her once in a while. It could also be a statement of grown-up kids and the changed dynamic and different point of views from being away. Whatever its trying to say, it seems to start off in some way and never quite gives any resolve or redemption. It feels a little incomplete to me. Granted it is set over a weekend, perhaps it wasn’t mean to have a lot of character development and its more about their mom’s acceptance of the situation. Although, why there was such attention on their relationships baffled me at the end. Maybe it kind of highlights something a bit more favorable about their personality.
I feel like I’m being tough on Last Weekend or maybe it just needs a few more viewings or I’m just not the target audience. I somehow don’t quite get what the movie was trying to do. It seems to have a message but it doesn’t seem to execute the idea well enough. While there are some solid performances, there is also a lot of unappealing characters (which is usually normal in dysfunctional family movies) and a lot of disjointed and unresolved moments. Perhaps that is what turns me off more. Plus, it doesn’t help that as I was trying to find meaning in Last Weekend, I ended up seeing it having a pretty negative message and kind of put me in a rather bad mood afterwards. Last Weekend has merit, just not enough to make it worth a second watch, however, maybe you will find something that I didn’t. If you did, please come back and tell me about it. I really wanted to like this one more.