- Movie Rating -

Until September (1984)

| September 21, 1984

I begin with the movie’s poster, which is a colossal miscalculation.  That’s fitting because this whole movie is a colossal miscalculation.  It features the film’s stars Karen Allen and Thierry Lhermitte embracing while, I guess, falling off of a chair.  She hangs over him like a drunken prom date and he looks as if he needs to excuse himself to the toilet.  Come to think of it, that might have made a better movie.

Until September is one of the most upfront snowstorms of the collective stupidity that I have ever had to witness.  It deals with an unholy alliance between an American stranded in Paris and a married Frenchman who is so indifferent to his family that they are all but forgotten in the film’s happy ending – which takes place in the airport, of course.  The two lovers are so lethargic in their passion for one another that their big scene has him criticizing her for eating French Toast the wrong way.

The film stars Allen, not making a great career turn here, as Moe Alexander, who misses her flight back to Warsaw and ends up being stuck in Paris until her visa gets approved.  Looking for a place to stay, she meets Xavier de la Perouse, played by Lhermitte and tells him “You have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.”  We wonder about her taste in eyeballs; Lhermitte’s eyes look like a good case for sunglasses at night.

Of course, Xavier is married and the family is away, so naturally he begins an affair with Moe not based on a mutual attraction but because the actors are getting paid and something needs to happen.  But I wonder about the casting choice here.  Getting Karen Allen is inspired but I wonder about Lhermitte.  He is so creepy and has scenes that are so unsettling that I began to wonder if the movie wasn’t going to turn into a thriller.  No kidding, there is a scene where he kisses her while she is passed out in a car, then she comes to and realizes that she can’t get out because he has locked the doors.  Later in a dance club, she dances with a nice young fellow while Lhermitte looks on disapprovingly from the sidelines while the soundtrack plays “Every Breath You Take.”  Did this start out as a stalker film?

Even the love scenes look mishandled, like slow-going wrestling matches.  When Allen an Lhermitte are required to communicate it’s in that awkward dialogue in which people try and fail to find some common ground.  Aside from the French toast debate there is also the excitement of the discussing which bottle is appropriate for which wine.  That’s what happens when they’re not fighting and breaking up or when he’s not stalking her like a serial killer.

Until September struggles to be anything.  It can’t be a compelling love story.  It can’t be a character drama.  It can’t really be a thriller although the pieces are there.  It can’t even be a comedy despite the fact that I was unintentionally laughing.  Maybe it was conceived over a night of drinking, the same night that birthed that silly poster.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Drama