Paris Can Wait
Directed By: Eleanor Coppola
Starring: Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard and Alec Baldwin
Run time: 1h 32min
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
3 ½ Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
This film is pure escapism. Anne (Lane), wife of Michael (Baldwin), a movie mogul who is so successful he’s usually too busy to spend time with her, is on a car trip from Cannes to Paris with her husband’s business partner, Jacques, played ardently by Arnaud Viard, to then meet her husband there for vacation. They live in L.A. but are in Cannes for the film festival and always end up in Paris after. This time the trip will take her to Paris by land, rather than by air as she usually does. She’s never seen the countryside in France, though she had always wanted to. Lucky for her, she gets a chance to see it by an enthusiastic escort. She assumed the trip will be seven hours but it turns out to be two days. When she admits she had always wanted to see the lavender in bloom, and beams with joy when they drive passed some, Jacques knows he can’t let her get to Paris without experiencing all France has to offer.
They stop for the night and have a romantic dinner; a dinner that Michael never would have been interested in taking her on, as well as one that he couldn’t have taken her on. He hasn’t the knowledge of the land nor does he have an interest in pleasing her quite so much. She is being treated to the vacation of her dreams. They have tastes of almost everything on the menu and, fluent in French, Jacques speaks romantically of the dishes and the wine and speaks to her with palpable delight.
As the miles closer to Paris dwindle, the film becomes more and more romantic. There’s flirtation and both parties drop obvious hints of interest but things are fairly innocent. Lane’s Anne is very sweet and gracious. They stop at such beautiful places that she can’t help but jump out and take pictures, a new hobby of hers. Jacques can’t help but ask to see them and is quite taken with her eye. His genuine interest in her passions arouses, springs back to life, something in Anne that had been long expired. You get the feeling that romance may be on Anne’s mind but she’s too innocent to ever act on it. When the car breaks down and he suggests having a picnic rather than tending to it immediately, she tries to persuade him to get them back on the road but he reminds her that the car will be there when they’re done and so will Paris. The trip is lovely and she opens up a little yet a private tour through a museum, where a friend of Jacques works, shows her that men are not to be trusted, especially French men, and a piece of her heart seems to break a little. The trip segues’s enough and along with her smiles she imparts on him a tragic and painful loss. This scene is magnificent; everything about it delicate and done with a qualified touch, come to think of it, everything else about the film is, too. It’s written and by Eleanor Coppola, wife of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now). Though she isn’t new to filmmaking, this is her first narrative feature… and she’s 81 years of age. This film is quite an accomplishment for a newbie.
Paris Can Wait felt very much like a Woody Allen Film in its subject matter, style and in how the male lead, Jacques, expresses his dialogue and what the dialogue in the film reveals. It’s even in France, a favorite location that Allen shoots. It also has beautiful and appropriate music that accompanies us on our journey with these characters; it lightly flutters about in the background and between lines of dialogue belonging to Jacques and Anne. I really liked it and would recommend it to anyone who likes romance and wouldn’t mind a character in a film giving you a tour through France. From beginning to end, it held my interest seeing these two get close. I liked how it ended and I hope that this isn’t the end for Coppola. I thought she did a fine job and I’d be first in line to see what’s next.