BY MIRIAM RINN
Award-winning playwright Israel Horowitz is trying his hand at movie directing with the adaptation of his play “My Old Lady,” and he has an all-star cast and Paris as a backdrop to help him out. The result is an enjoyable dramatic comedy that still feels as if it was more effective on the stage. Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith are always a pleasure to watch, and Kristin Scott Thomas brings a lot of feeling to the project, however, so a moviegoer could do a lot worse.
Depressed and broke, New York writer Matthias Gold (Kevin Kline) shows up in the gentrifying Marais section of Paris to check on the large apartment his estranged father left him when he died. To his consternation, Matthias finds the elderly Mathilde Girard (Maggie Smith) ensconced there with her daughter Chloe (Scott Thomas), and what’s worse, he learns that he must pay them rent despite his being the owner. Evidently, French real estate law allows for an arrangement referred to as a viager, a sort of reverse mortgage deal, but more complicated. If the property is sold, the tenant goes with the sale, which makes the apratment somewhat less than desirable.