From the day Pauline (Clemence Poésy) lends him a helping hand on the bus, the stubborn and weary Matthew Morgan (Sir Michael Caine) stumbles back to happiness. Swept off his old feet by the young woman's disarming vitality and unwavering optimism, the quiet teacher becomes an unlikely student of living. In their everyday adventures of walks through Paris, lunches in the park, and trips to the country, the odd couple explore the treasures of friendship, the comfort of companionship, the taste of romance - and the meaning of family. Through their mutual restoration of faith in people who care, Pauline embraces the idea of a new kind of family while Matthew finally reconnects with his estranged son Miles, who in turn finds himself deeply affected by the changes in his father.
Despite a oftentimes shoddy accent by Michael Caine there is something inherently special about Mr Morgan’s Last Love, a film that risks it all in its final moments to surprise viewers with a ending akin to Marmite. Some might loathe its depressive nature but some may love the guts it took to stick to the idea that sometimes life doesn’t quite work out how you might expect and we should enjoy the time we have while we have it.
The film follows Matthew Morgan (Caine), a retired professor and widow living in Paris despite knowing hardly any french or even having a reason to stay beyond the fact that his late wife Joan (Jane Alexander) loved it. When he meets Pauline (Clemence Poesy), a young Parisian woman he finds himself facing a depression he was quashing for sometime while he bonds with her in a way he cannot bond with his estranged son Miles (Justin Kirk).
The first thing that needs to be said about Mr Morgan is that Caine makes him a revelation, a man combatting grief while also embracing the life he has left in whatever small way that he can. He enfuses the character with a charm that few performers could have given this sad man and while the film tries to turn him into an intolerable grouch, Caine almost makes him the honest character most people take for granted.The scenes he shares with Poesy are the films best as they bounce off each other in a naturalistic father daughter kind of way as the two assume a surrogate family quickly and easily.
The film only really loses focus when it devotes time to Matthew’s real family, the self absorbed and terrible daughter Karen (Gillian Anderson) and the depressive and vindictive son Miles. It’s not that their input isn’t felt in the films final moments, its that it slows down a deeply personal and emotional story to a halt when they arrive in the 2nd act as family drama gets in the way of serious plotting. It doesn’t matter much in the end as Mr Morgan’s Last Love proves to be a wonder of metaphors and beautiful acting