Versatile Kevin Kline and “My Old Lady”
By Skip Sheffield
Kevin Kline is one versatile performer. Most recently he convincingly played the tragically-flawed movie star Errol Flynn in “The Last of Robin Hood.”
Now is another anti-hero, Mathias Gold, in Israel Horovitz’s “My Old Lady.”
Mathias Gold is a spoiled, once-rich New York screw-up guy who inherits a lavish, historic Parisian townhouse complete with garden.
Mathias was never close with his father, who from the time Mathias was 10, spent most of his time in Paris while Mathias lived in Upper East Side New York with his mother. Nevertheless Mathias was named in his will as his father’s only surviving heir, and with that came the incredibly valuable French real estate. There is a catch though, and it’s a big one in this psychological tale by master storyteller Israel Horovitz. The apartment has a permanent resident, an English woman named Mathilde Girard (Maggie Smith), whose daughter Chloe (Kristin Scott Thomas) lives with her. Under archaic French real estate law, Madame Girard is entitled to stay in the apartment for the rest of her life. She can however rent space.
“My Old Lady” is developed from a three-character play by the playwright himself, who directs the film. It still seems much like a play, but what a cast, working with eternally gorgeous Paris as a backdrop.
This is an adult film for those who have loved and lost and perhaps learned something in the process. Lucky us, Israel Horovitz has developed a fruitful relationship with Delray Beach’s Arts Garage theater program. The next time he visits I will thank him personally.