Three far-flung siblings return to the family's bucolic French summerhouse to celebrate their mother's birthday, then reconvene when she passes away. Adrienne (Binoche) is a designer living in New York and Jeremie (Renier) is a businessman relocated to Hong Kong, leaving eldest son Frederic (Berling), a Paris-based economist, as the one most invested in his mother's legacy. They must decide what and how to sell (including the house and an art collection), and what to let go.
In this pitch-perfect elegy of life, legacy, and passing time, French master Olivier Assayas presents an emotionally complex scenario that moves beyond good or bad, right or wrong. "Summer Hours" is about honest, likeable people forced to make difficult choices. Oscar-winner Binoche is as good as ever as the frankest and flightiest of three siblings, while Berling serves as the compelling anchor of the film, caught between nostalgia for the past and the practical realities of a family scattered around the globe. Assayas somehow makes even the simplest scenes remarkably lush and uncommonly moving. "Summer Hours" sneaks up on you in the best possible way.