love letter to the city blah blah
comparisons to Woody Allen
’s “Manhattan” blah blah
....all stuff I knew would be spouted by some critics (and certainly the press kit) for this French ensemble film and yet sentiments I completely disagreed with. I mean, sure, the eight or so intertwining stories going on all take place inside the city (more or less) but except for occasional and somewhat gratuitous moments here and there, these stories feel like they could take place anywhere....in France anyway. And did anyone notice that "Manhattan"
is funny? Certainly no attempt was made to cross that line here.
These tales of love, death, and folks who spend too much time talking about both never really go anywhere. I suppose I would agree with those who compared the film to Robert Altman
’s “Short Cuts”
in that way although the Altman
stories seemed much more interesting. Maybe it’s just the language barrier. I’m used to seeing subtitled films with more martial arts in them. My failing, I know. Still, would it have hurt anyone to see Juliette Binoche
doing some parkour? It certainly wouldn’t have hurt me. Probably would have hurt Juliette
though, I guess. Hey, art is supposed to be hard work!
Such a big cast of characters makes there no point in trying to explain all the different and relatively mundane tales involved. Here’s the centerpieces that you need to know: Juliette Binoche
is 40, a little depressed about it, and there’s no reason she should be except that her brother (Romain Duris
) may be dying from heart problems. She moves in with him with her kids to help take care of him. Across the street lives Laetitia
, played by Mélanie Laurent
at the absolute hottest she’s ever been. She has that, ‘girl you used to see in school and was flabbergasted by how amazingly hot she was so you never even made eye contact with her’
thing going on. At least for me (Jennifer Ledbetter
, if you’re out there somewhere, you don’t know what a good thing you missed out on). Laetitia
has been successfully stalked by her teacher at the Sorbonne
) who now is dealing with his mid-life crisis by fulfilling the dreams of every red-blooded heterosexual man who sees this movie - getting to have sex with Mélanie Laurent
. Did I emphasize that enough yet? There’s also a bunch of crap about local market vendors and their love lives, a resort worker in Cameroon who is trying to get to Paris to hook up with a model, and other even more tedious and relatively unexplored tales.
The upside of “Paris”
is that it’s got a solid soundtrack, especially the cool trip-hop tunes. The mood is mellow and the tone is blue (I really shouldn’t write reviews on 4/20). There’s a steady pace throughout that has a sort of je ne sais quoi
pleasant flow to it (see how I cleverly managed to slip in a French phrase?), both in it’s more energetic scenes, like an impromptu party at Juliette
’s place, to the middle aged whining of the professor who complains incessantly to his brother about existence...*said in a French accent while smoking* but, isn’t that just like life?
The downside is, that flow is slow. It’s agonizing waiting for this thing to move along at points and there’s really no pay off to do so. All that being said, I'm the first to admit that this isn't my sort of thing. Movies that are about normal day-to-day life and people going about their day...why would I watch them when I could just live normal day-to-day life and go about my day? Sure, I don't get to sleep with Mélanie Laurent
...hmm. At least "Paris" made it seem plausible. Anybody got her phone number?
The trite “seize the day”
message of the film only works as the smooth ending credits song by French trip hop producer Wax Taylor
with that as a title. I have to assume that the actual city is more interesting than this film about it. Some day, I’ll be at the SPILL PARTY: PARIS
and find out for myself. I give the movie “Paris”
, however, at best a STREAM
Click Here to Buy Paris