What You Need To Know:
(H, L, NN, B, M) Humanism; one obscenity; very brief female nudity; abortion, adultery & marital breakup presented as negative; and, emotionally damaging events.
In THE LAST DAYS OF CHEZ NOUS, a successful writer, Beth, her easygoing French husband, J.P., and their exuberant daughter, Annie, seem a happy family as they banter with each other. Then, Beth’s sister Vicky arrives after yet another unsuccessful journey to “find herself.” She also happens to be pregnant. Beth arranges for an abortion. The results of the abortion are devastating for all concerned. Vicky complains that she was rushed through the decision and begins to fall apart, especially while watching a TV program on childbirth. (The portrayal of post-abortion distress is remarkable both for its depth and candor.) Attempting to comfort her, Beth’s husband is drawn into an affair with Vicky. When Beth returns, she discovers her husband’s (and sister’s) infidelity.
This movie is an uncommonly intelligent but somber study of the emotional wreckage left in the wake of abortion, infidelity and marital disintegration. The family teetering on the brink of disaster resides in Australia, but the issues are universal. THE LAST DAYS OF CHEZ NOUS neither glorifies nor softens the consequences of this family’s bad decisions and missed opportunities. The film contains achingly realistic dialogue and situations (while handling sexual issues with great discretion), and causes us to care about all concerned even if we find their choices regrettable. Regrettably, the film offers no real solutions to the problems involved.