France’s Alain Resnais (“Hiroshima mon amour,” “Last Year at Marienbad”) died last year at age 91, with 50 titles to his name and a career that spanned more than six decades. His final film, “Life of Riley,” was completed shortly before he passed away.
The film is a play within a play, showing a group of married couples rehearsing together for a community theater production while mulling over the imminent demise of their good friend George Riley. Death is on everyone’s mind here — including the aging director’s.
“Life of Riley” is based on a 2010 play of the same name by Alan Ayckbourn and, aside from the fact that everyone speaks French, the English-suburbia mood of the original has been duplicated carefully.
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The titular Riley is never seen throughout the story, though the women (Sabine Azema, Caroline Sihol, Sandrine Kiberlain) compete for his attention and talk about him incessantly. This is a well-observed matrimonial comedy, peppered throughout with scenes that serve to tell us what happens when two people are trapped too long in the confines of a conventional marriage. Boredom and repetition seems like the least of it.
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