Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Paris Can Wait (2016)

A woman wondering about the next phase of her life finds new insights on an unexpected two-day journey to Paris in PARIS CAN WAIT (2016).

Diane Lane plays Anne Lockwood, who's accompanying her movie producer husband Michael (Alec Baldwin) while he works on location in Europe. Anne has recently closed her clothing business and sent their daughter off to college and is attempting to spend more time with her preoccupied husband.

Anne's plan to fly with her husband from Cannes to Budapest is stymied by ear pain which makes flying inadvisable. Jacques (Arnaud Viard), one of Michael's colleagues, offers to drive Anne to Paris, where she'll meet Michael at his next stop after Budapest.

Jacques has a very laid-back attitude when it comes to getting to Paris, and what was expected to be a day-long drive turns into two days of sightseeing, sampling fine restaurants...and gradually revealing more of themselves to one another, including sharing the most painful moments in their lives.

PARIS CAN WAIT was written and directed by Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola and mother of Sofia; this was her first feature film, released the year she turned 80! She does a fine job, to the extent one wonders about the good movies we missed out on because her career didn't begin at a younger age.

As PARIS CAN WAIT unfolds over 92 minutes, it's interesting deducing what's behind the characters; for instance, is Jacques just a nice friend who enjoys life and showing off his country to an American, or is he perhaps a bit manipulative and taking advantage of the situation, hoping a light flirtation could develop into something more? All of the above? And what's with his cash flow problem?

Viard's personality is appealing enough that Jacques remains good company even when Anne -- and the viewer -- wonder just what's going on at certain points. And in the end his motivations don't really matter so much, as what's important is what Anne takes away from the journey, as she literally stops to smell the roses and rediscover herself as an individual.

Diane Lane is charming and authentic as the grounded (literally and figuratively) Anne; her reactions, including expressing awkwardness, polite impatience, and clear delight, are utterly real. I loved Anne's habit of whipping out her camera to shoot anything which takes her fancy, especially small details such as part of a croissant or a close-up of an ancient wall, and the pleasure she takes in doing so.

Lane is onscreen for almost the entire film, and it's most enjoyable watching her. This film made me want to rewatch some of her earlier movies and check out some for the first time -- I've been meaning to get to SECRETARIAT...

PARIS CAN WAIT would make a nice double bill with Lane's UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN (2003), another film about a woman taking a fresh look at her life in France. It's rather interesting to note that some of the key films in Lane's career have been set in France, going all the way back to A LITTLE ROMANCE (1979) when she was a teenager.

I don't care for Alec Baldwin, but that actually works in the context of the movie, as he plays a man so consumed by his work that he pays little attention to his wife, other than to treat her as someone to cater to his needs. It also helps that he's not onscreen for very long!

The movie was filmed by Crystel Fournier, showing off the beautiful French countryside and gorgeously plated food to perfection.

PARIS CAN WAIT is available on DVD, Blu-ray, or via streaming.

Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG. There are a couple of adult moments, including the implication that Jacques has had a quick afternoon fling with a friend while Anne is otherwise occupied, but it's handled subtly. For the most part it's family-friendly, though I feel the storyline will naturally be appreciated more by mature adults.

A trailer is here.


Blogger JeffZanker said...

Pleasant entertainment.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Agreed! :)

Best wishes,

8:14 AM  

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