My Old Lady (film)

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My Old Lady
My Old Lady - US Theatrical Poster.jpg
US theatrical poster
Directed byIsrael Horovitz
Written byIsrael Horovitz (play and screenplay)
Produced byRachael Horovitz
Gary Foster
Nitsa Benchetrit
David C. Barrot
David Atrakchi
Gael Cabouat
Boris Mendza
CinematographyMichel Amathieu
Edited byJacob Craycroft
Stephanie Ahn
Music byMark Orton
Distributed byUnited Kingdom:
Curzon Film World
United States:
Cohen Media Group
Release dates
  • September 2014 (2014-09) (TIFF)
  • 10 September 2014 (2014-09-10) (US)
  • 21 November 2014 (2014-11-21) (UK)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
LanguagesEnglish, French
Budget$5 million (less than)[2]
Box office$8,651,792[3]

My Old Lady is a 2014 comedy-drama film written and directed by Israel Horovitz in his feature directorial debut.[4] The film was released in 2014, and stars Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Dominique Pinon.[5] It was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.[6]


Mathias, a down-and-out New Yorker, travels to Paris to sell a large, valuable apartment he has inherited from his estranged father. Once there, he discovers an old woman, Mathilde, living in the apartment with her daughter Chloé.

Mathias quickly learns that the apartment is a "viager" — an ancient French system for buying and selling apartments — and that he will not actually be in possession of the apartment until Mathilde dies, and that until then he owes her a life annuity of €2,400 a month. All this is a surprise to him, since his father never told him and Mathias had language problems with the French lawyer.

Mathias has no money and no place to live, but Mathilde allows him to stay in the apartment with her if he pays rent. However, to pay for the next life annuity payment, he steals and sells furniture from the apartment and also asks a prospective buyer of his contract for advance payments.

Mathias discovers that Mathilde and his father had a long-lasting affair while both were married. Mathias and Chloé fall in love with each other after emotionally bonding over their childhoods. Since Chloé wants to stay in the apartment, Mathias decides at the last minute to decline a multi-million Euro offer for the apartment/contract. Mathilde points out that Mathias does not have to worry about money: he can sell en viager, allowing him to live in the apartment while also providing him a life annuity, albeit a modest one because of his relatively young age of 57.



The film My Old Lady is an adaptation of Horovitz's play of the same name, which premiered in 1996 at the Gloucester Stage Co., founded by Horovitz in East Gloucester, MA.[11]

Horovitz, principally a playwright and theatre director, and whose plays have been translated and performed in more than 30 languages worldwide, had previously directed only one film, 3 Weeks After Paradise, a 51-minute testimonial from 2002 about his family's experiences following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center.[12]


My Old Lady is a British–French–American film production venture between BBC Films, Cohen Media Group, and Deux Chevaux Films.[13] The film is produced by Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball), Gary Foster (Sleepless in Seattle), Nitsa Benchetrit and David Barrot. Film production began filming on location in Paris and its surrounding suburbs on September 26, 2013.[14]


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 61% based on 89 reviews. The site's consensus reads, "Although My Old Lady doesn't quite live up to its stars' talents, Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith carry the film capably whenever they're together onscreen."[15] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 53 out 100 based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[16]

John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Kline remains a pleasure to watch, surviving the character's deepening self-pity and making his suspiciously unwriterly carelessness with words (he refers to the trophy head of a wild boar as a "cow") almost charming."[17] Variety's Andrew Barker gave a mixed review: "Its translation from stage to screen looks to have been a bit rocky, and the film never manages to transcend its actors-workshop aura and develop into something deeper."[18]


  1. ^ "MY OLD LADY (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  2. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (28 August 2014). "Glad to Try 'Something Terrifying'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014.
  3. ^ "My Old Lady". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Maggie Smith to lead first-time director's Paris film". Daily Express. London. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  5. ^ Kemp, Stuart (7 May 2013). "Cannes: Maggie Smith to Star in Israel Horovitz's 'My Old Lady'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  6. ^ Punter, Jennie (22 July 2014). "Toronto Film Festival Lineup Includes Denzel Washington's 'Equalizer,' Kate Winslet's 'A Little Chaos'". Variety. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  7. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan (7 May 2013). "Casting Watch: Maggie Smith and Kevin Kline Head to Paris for 'My Old Lady'". Indiewire. Thompson on Hollywood (blog). Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  8. ^ Dickey, Josh (7 September 2013). "Toronto: Kristin Scott Thomas joins 'My Old Lady'; Cohen Media Group acquires North American rights". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  9. ^ Barraclough, Leo (7 May 2013). "Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline to Star in 'Old Lady'". Variety. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  10. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (9 September 2013). "'My Old Lady' Sells To Slew of International Territories". Variety. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  11. ^ Israel Horovitz: My Old Lady (Full Length Play, Drama) at ISBN 9780573704369 Accessed 4 March 2018
  12. ^ Horovitz' Biography at Accessed 4 March 2018
  13. ^ British Films Directory: Film Detail: My Old Lady at, Accessed 4 March 2018
  14. ^ Toronto: Kristin Scott Thomas On Board ‘My Old Lady’ Opposite Kevin Kline at, Accessed 4 March 2018
  15. ^ "My Old Lady". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  16. ^ "My Old Lady Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  17. ^ Sep 7, 2014 (7 September 2014). "'My Old Lady': Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. ^ Barker, Andrew (6 September 2014). "Toronto Film Review: 'My Old Lady'". Variety.

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