Mathias, an alcoholic New Yorker, divorced three times and down to his last dime, inherits a large, valuable Paris apartment from his wealthy, but long estranged father. When he arrives in Paris to claim it, he discovers an elegant ninety-year old woman, Mathilde, living in it with her daughter, Chloé, who appears to be approximately the same age as Mathias. They both teach English to French adults: Mathilde from the apartment and Chloe at a school. Mathias soon learns that under French law the apartment is a "viager," part of an odd French property system that not only denies him the ability to sell it, in order to keep it to sell when Mathilde dies, he must pay her a monthly annuity. With no money, no place to live, and against Chloe's wishes, Mathilde allows him to rent a room in the apartment for a price. Determined to outwit her, Mathias earns quick cash stealing and selling furniture from the unused rooms. When this gets obvious, he forces a prospective buyer of his apartment contract for an advance payment. Mathilde tells the puzzled Mathias that she had a life long affair with his father and Mathias soon realizes Matihilde inherited both the apartment and the money his father denied him.
Cast : Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Michael Burstin, Elie Wajeman
Writer : Israel Horovitz (written for the screen by), Israel Horovitz (play)
Language : English