PARIS CAN WAIT
Anne (Diane Lane) the wife of film producer Michael (Alec Baldwin) accepts the offer of a lift from Cannes to Paris from business associate Jacques (Arnaud Viard) while her husband flies to Budapest for meetings before joining her. The road trip turns into a celebration of French food, wine and flirtation.
Review by Louise Keller:
An uplifting road trip that embraces France, food and matters of the heart, Paris Can Wait is a delight: a scrumptious degustation crammed with tantalising textures and flavours and lightly glazed with romance. Based on real events, in her directing debut, Eleanor Coppola has crafted a film that brushes away life's cobwebs as it let us look at life from a fresh perspective. If you need a dose of joie de vivre, this may be just the ticket.
The film is disarmingly simple and Diane Lane elevates the proceedings with her beautifully nuanced performance and luminous presence. She plays Anne, the elegant, ever-patient Hollywood wife, who blossoms under the gaze and attention of her husband's business associate Jacques, a charming Frenchman, played by Arnaud Viard (excellent). While Alec Baldwin's pre-occupied film producer husband ratchets up another movie deal in Budapest, Jacques takes Anne on the scenic route to Paris - in a sexy, sky blue vintage Peugeot convertible.
The spoils are both simple and sophisticated as they navigate through Provence. Roadside strawberries, lavenders in bloom and an impromptu picnic by the Rhone contrast the haute cuisine with Chateauneuf du Pape, Dorade, Nipples of Venus and a basket of cheeses that dwarfs the dinner table. Indicative of Jacques' romantic persona, he calls her Brulee (she is the chocolate cr¸me brulee to the 'pop tarts' of Cannes).
The pleasures of the film lie in the discovery of the beauty, history and offerings of the gorgeous French countryside and culture and the ever-changing relationship between Anne and Jacques. We feel her surprise when Jacques picks up her hand over the dinner table - a tangible indication that perhaps his intentions are more than that of just friends. Like Anne, who is wary of the twinkle in his eye from the outset, we are seduced by his genuine enthusiasm of life and flattered by his focused attention. How can she not succumb? Or can she?
The film's menu offers much more than food - marriage comes under scrutiny (guilt is bad for the digestion) and we meet a few of women from Jacques' past. Perhaps it is the scenes when Anne and Jacques share their vulnerabilities that bonds them and allows a taste of the intimacy they both clearly crave. While the film's essence is as light as a souffle, Coppola never lets it become trite and predictable. The story is clearly based in reality - after all who could come up with the idea of pretending to dance in a Renoir painting?
Like a splendid meal, Paris Can Wait allows us to enjoy it all - from the anticipation to the recollection of the priceless moments along the way. The ending is delicious. So what are you waiting for?
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fun for Francophiles, Paris Can Wait is the armchair equivalent of touring France by car. Instead of us travelling, the film allows us to sit still while the travel unfolds on the screen, along with taste-bud tingling cuisine, wonderful wine and a bit of low level romantic sparkle a la French cultural expectations.
The idea for the film was inspired by real life events as Eleanor Coppola - aka Mrs Francis Ford Coppola - recalls them from travels with Francis. Her screenplay (six years in the writing) is a gentle parody of American unworldliness, but in the hands of Diane Lane, this becomes a charming naivety in the face of French sophistication. Lane makes the film work by a seamless performance, a characterisation so authentic we don't flinch at the culture clash.
Arnaud Viard's Jacques is the recognisable Frenchman who not only knows the best restaurants, finest wines and loveliest spots along the drive, he shares them enthusiastically like a proud father with his new son.
A relaxed, relaxing and entirely enjoyable film, it stands out in today's cinema for not asking us to be exercised about anything more than the stunning cheese basket encountered along the way to Paris.
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PARIS CAN WAIT (M)
CAST: Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard, Alec Baldwin,
PRODUCER: Eleanor Coppola, Fred Roos
DIRECTOR: Eleanor Coppola
SCRIPT: Eleanor Coppola
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Crystel Fournier
EDITOR: Glen Scantlebury
MUSIC: Laura Karpman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Anne Siebel
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Transmission
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 20, 2017