Rated PG

92 Minutes

Released May 12th

 

Paris Can Wait is Eleanor Coppola’s debut as a feature film writer/director, at the age of 80!  Now, she didn’t just wake up one day and say to herself “Hmm, maybe I’ll direct a movie.”  Eleanor has been working in the film business since the 1960’s.  As the wife of Francis Ford Coppola, she has been involved in filmmaking, hands-on and as an observer, for longer than many of us have been alive.   Eleanor met her husband while working as an assistant art director on one of his films in 1963. Since then she has worked as a set decorator, extra, titles creator, documentary supervisor, short film and documentary director, narrator, camera operator and video cinematographer.

 

Paris Can Wait is an uncomplicated movie in which (OMG!) nothing evil happens.  Coppola’s screenplay successfully keeps a sense of drama alive and there is a positive unexpected twist. The story begins as a high profile producer’s wife, “Anne” played by Diane Lane, has an earache, so rather than fly with her husband in a private jet from Cannes to Paris, she accepts an offer from one of her husband’s fellow producers, a quirky, fun-loving Frenchman named “Jacques” (Arnaud Viard), to be his passenger as he drives to Paris.  The resulting road trip from Cannes through south and central France and on to Paris turns out to be a wonderful travelogue in addition to being an engaging story. Jacques proves to know the countryside intimately, as well as many of the people who inhabit it.  “Driving is the only way to see a country,” says Jacques at the beginning of the trip.

 

Anne and Jacques visit areas of France that tourists often miss. The French are admirably proud of their history and Jacques is definitely representative of this pride.  He ventures off the main route to show Anne gorgeous sites laden with stories.  He seems to know someone at every stop.  It’s like watching the Travel Channel and the Food Channel at the same time.  Rich visual detail of each site is covered and the camera seems to devour each colorful, meticulously crafted meal.

 

Paris Can Wait is a welcome switch in style from the big budget action movies that seem to be released almost every week right now.  It’s a unique love story of a brief encounter and a peaceful adventure, with rich cinematography of bold landscapes, detailed tapestries and Michelin-starred meals as a backdrop.   Diane Lane is realistic, sympathetic and believable.  Alec Baldwin has a great cameo as the producer-husband. Arnaud Viand is like a modern day Charles Boyer, Maurice Chevalier or Yves Montand.  He endows Jacques with the personality of an absent-minded professor, a genuine love of life and a sense of humor.  This is a film to sit back and enjoy.

 

 

 

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com