Food lovers and Francophiles unite! If you happen to be both, then you’ve hit the jackpot with ‘Paris Can Wait’. Warning: do not go into this movie hungry.
When Anne (Diane Lane, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice') is unable to fly with her movie producer husband (Alec Baldwin, 'Concussion', TV's '30 Rock') from the Cannes film festival to Budapest, she decides to go to Paris and accepts a lift from associate Jacques (Arnaud Viard). What should be an eight-hour journey turns into a few days as the enthusiastic Frenchman takes detour after detour to showcase Provence to his new travel companion while highlighting its history, cathedrals, museums, nature and, above all else, its gastronomic delights.
The only thing stopping this tale from being branded a 92-minute tourism commercial is that it isn’t shot or edited with a slew of impeccable cinematographic vistas and sweeping shots of the coastline or luscious image after image of decadent food that practically leaps off the screen. Instead, it’s more of a delicate admiration with an incidental plot. As we jump from Anne and Jacques to the beautiful scenery, never does one impede the other. Both agendas are proportional and cheekily help the other along.
At the age of 81, Eleanor Coppola, the wife of Francis Ford Coppola, is making her feature film directorial debut, having only worked previously in short and TV documentaries. ‘Paris Can Wait’ almost seems like a perfect balance between fiction and non-fiction for Mrs Coppola. Despite the frenetic energy of our on-screen characters, there is a certain air of tranquility about the film, that after learning about our new filmmaker, can surely be attributed to age, a quiet wisdom and a compassionate woman’s touch.
It’s more of a delicate admiration with an incidental plot.
Viard’s Jacques is frustratingly charming and adorable. His on-screen pairing with Lane creates an engaging dynamic as this unlikely partnership battle Anne’s American-ness versus Jacques ADD-like French-ness.
There’s nothing grand about ‘Paris Can Wait’. It’s a sweet, inoffensive snack, if only a little disappointing given the director’s pedigree. Come for the show, stay for the food and you’ll walk out smiling.