Rob Reviews "Paris Can Wait"
Eleanor Coppola knows a thing or two about the movie business. She was still a newlywed when her husband, Francis Ford, struggled with Paramount to keep control of “The Godfather,” documented his adventures filming “Apocalypse Now” (turning it into the acclaimed “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse), and watched multiple generations of her family have success in the business from daughter Sophia and son Roman (as well as departed son Gian-Carlo), nieces, nephews, and even her granddaughter Gia. Now at 80, she directs her first narrative film that she has also written in the road trip story “Paris Can Wait”.
Shot on what is an unbelievable five-million-dollar budget, Anne (Diane Lane) is a woman at a crossroads. Her daughter, Alexandra, is off to college and her producer husband, Michael (Alec Baldwin), is called away from the Cannes Film Festival to Budapest on a movie emergency. Anne is not feeling well which does not bode well for her flying, so she decides to head to their next destination of Paris on her own. One of Michael’s producer partners, Jacques (Arnaud Viard), volunteers to drive her there so that they are there by dinnertime, but that turns into a multi-day excursion throughout France where Anne learns about herself, her journey, and her life.
What I really enjoyed about this film is its simplicity. Coppola takes a style that lets the camera tell the story in lieu of shot tricks and techniques that other directors may use to illustrate points of their story. Gorgeous views of the French countryside and strong performances by her two leads are more than enough to carry her vision to the screen, and both of these factors do so very well. There is also a LOT of eating and drinking going on here, and while I made the conscious decision to wait until after the film to grab a bite to eat, I made the wrong choice for a couple of reasons: 1 – this film made me even hungrier, and 2 – on a limited budget, there is no possible way I was going to find anything remotely as delicious as the food that was displayed on screen.
While some may dismiss this on the surface as the same “man and woman take a road trip together and stuff happens” film, “Paris Can Wait” is a bit more than that. There are pieces of Anne’s story arc that almost everyone can identify with, including some deeper issues that to just deep enough to prove their point without bogging down the main story. What is impressive here is how these little moments enhance the story instead of working independently from them. Add to that the very natural chemistry between Lane and Viard and this is a film that can be enjoyed by people on all adult levels.
“Paris Can Wait” can be seen as a date film, but don’t let that deter you either. I was by myself when I screened it, and that did not bother me at all. Don’t get me wrong: this is a good date movie outside of the temptation angle, so maybe not on a first date. If you are in the mood for a story that will hit both emotional and humorous chords, this is a very good option to look into!