Anne is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successful, driven but inattentive movie producer, she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband. What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a carefree two-day adventure replete with diversions involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom and romance, reawakening Anne's senses and giving her a new lust for life.
Diane Lane stars in a 90 min. commercial on "la douce vie en France"
"Paris Can Wait" (2016 release; 92 min.) brings the story of Anne and Jacques. As the movie opens, Anne and her husband Michael, a movie producer, are in Cannes and ready to fly to their next location, Budapest. But because Anne has an earache that would only get worse from the in-flight cabin pressure, she decides to go on directly to Paris, where she'll wait for Michael to catch up. Jacques, a business partner of Michael's, by coincidence is driving to Paris and offers her a ride. Off they go, and it's not long before Jacques makes frequent stops to sample the local "cuisine" and show local landmarks to Anne. At this point we're 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more off the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: writer-director Eleanor Coppola (wife of Francis Ford) has been in the movie industry for decades, mostly as a documentarian, and so now, Elelanor, a crispy 80 years young, makes her debut as a fiction feature-length director. Wow. Here she brings us what amounts to a road movie with a romcom undertone, plus a foodie splash for good measure. If you have seen the trailer (which had been playing prominently in recent weeks), the movie plays EXACTLY as you'd expect from the trailer. The only element of the slightest surprise/mystery is: will they or won't they (Anne and Jacques) fall for each other? But even that is almost besides the point, as we watch what amounts to a 90 min. commercial for "la douce vie en France" (the sweet life in France). There are so many restaurant scenes, involving the most delicious dishes and wines, that it feels like the theater should been serving something too. At least, that is what came in my head when Jacques ordered a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and I thought "where is ours?". Diana Lane is delightful as Anne, radiating pretty much like she did in "Under the Tuscan Son" from over a decade ago. Alec Baldwin is perfect s the neglectful husband, and veteran French actor Arnaud Viard is fine as Jacques.
"Paris Can Wait" opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Saturday matinée screening was very well attended, even more so for being a matinée. I can see this film becoming a hit on the art-house theater circuit. For me personally the movie was just a little too straight-forward, and if I wanted to watch a commercial of the south of France, I could've done that for free on the French Tourist Buearu's website. But Diane Lane provides a saving grace (to a degree), so it's all good.
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