Film Review: PARIS CAN WAIT (USA 2017) Directed by Eleanor Coppola

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paris_can_waitAnne is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successful, driven but inattentive movie producer, she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband. What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a carefree two-day adventure replete with diversions involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom and romance, reawakening Anne’s senses and giving her a new lust for life.

Director: Eleanor Coppola
Writer: Eleanor Coppola
Stars: Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin, Arnaud Viard

Review by Gilbert Seah

 PARIS CAN WAIT opens at the Cannes Film Festival (where the film was shot). (Nothing is seen of the Cannes film festival or of any stars though, so one assumes that it was not shot during that time.) Anne (Diane Lane) is here with her producer husband Michael (Alec Baldwin) who can be observed as loving his wife yet too busy to pay her much attention. When she thinks he is answering her questions, he is actually speaking to the person on the other side of his phone. When an earache prevents Anne from flying to Budapest with Michael, Michael’s film associate Jacques (Arnaud Viard) offers to drive her to Paris, while Michael heads to Budapest for a film.

But Jacques diverts on the trip, and hence the title PARIS CAN WAIT. Anne filly arrives in Paris at the end of the film, delayed while her husband grows suspicious. In the mean time, Jacques plays on his charm to woo Anne – and finally makes his move.

PARIS CAN WAIT is a light comedy that is neither very funny nor amusing. The characters are superficially pleasant, but only to each other. If one looks deeper, each one is selfish to each one end.

Coppola’s film is full of little observations. She uses her characters nuances to point out flaws and strengths in their personalities. But the three characters are the idle rich who probably have lived all their lives in luxurious decadence. As a result, the audience can hardly feel for any of the three – whether they cheat or remain faithful. They just come across as three annoying people unconnected to the real world.

In the film, Coppola takes her audience to see the France only the fortunate see. Thee are no scene of poverty or minorities or any of the hardship that is taking place in the E.U. The characters wine and dine in luxury, always complaining about the ridiculous. Anne complains a great deal about how she cannot get cheese at room service that she had to order a cheeseburger to get some. It is a haughty and selfish behaviour with that spirit prevailing throughout the film. The two principal characters are travelling around in a gorgeous Peugeot convertible.

It is surprising the this is the same director that made the insightful documentary HEART OF DARKNESS that revealed the insides of her husband’s APOCALYPSE NOW. Where did all the talent and insight disappear to?
The film is shot in English and French without any subtitles for the French portion. The dialogue is mostly inconsequential which means that is no need for any translation.

The climax of the film is the scene where Anne ends up putting a clip to tidy up her hair behind her head, as if tidying up all the ends that have taken place, a clever subtle metaphor in the film. It is an odd way to end the film, as it is an odd film – indulgent, insufferable and impossible.



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