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Movie Review: Paris

Alternate Title: A Room With a View

Story: I love Paris in the springtime. I love Paris in the fall. I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles. I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles (Cole Porter). Apparently writer and director Cédric Klapisch also loves Paris as witnessed in his latest homage to that beautiful city.

The film has multiple storylines and characters including the city, itself. Young Moulin Rouge dancer Pierre, finds himself homebound when he discovers that his heart is giving out and he is waiting for a transplant. His now shell of a life consists of watching everyone else's life go by from his balcony. His devoted 40 something sister moves in with her three children to care for her brother. Their poignant story alone would have been plenty for lesser film makers but Klapisch goes for the whole enchilada (or should I say crepe?)

Via shopping excursions near the apartment we meet a handful of working class French people including a racist bakery owner (some of the better laughs are hers), vital, ethnic vendors at a fresh food market, a young, beautiful student across the way, who has multiple complicated relationships including one with an older professor. The professor has a brother whose wife is pregnant. Well, you get the gist. Life is connected in varied ways and Pierre gets to watch it unfold from his balcony.

I got interested in every single character and was unsettled when many of the stories did not have neat and tidy endings. But, alas, life is not neat and tidy, is it?

As the now famous quote from Casablanca goes "we'll always have Paris."

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwROhrqTyi8

Note: If your cable provider offers the Independent Film Channel, you can now get many of these types of art house films (on demand) right in your living room the same day they open on the big screen. So if your community lacks some of NYC's art houses, check it out. Paris is being offered now.

Acting: Juliette Binoche as Elise incredibly gets more beautiful and talented with each passing year. Do you think there is something in the Parisian water? Romain Duris as Pierre is essentially the main character, but he is somewhat of a blank slate. Fabrice Luchini as the older smitten, Roland Verneuil is terrific and has one heck of a dance number. Mélanie Laurent as the young student, Laetitia, was last seen in Inglourious Basterds and she continues to delight.

Trivia: Juliette Binoche, daughter of an actress and a sculptor, was only 23 when she first attracted the attention of international film critics with The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988). In 1996, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in The English Patient (1996). Legendary actress Lauren Bacall was roundly expected to win in that category for her performance in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), but Binoche won the Oscar instead, in one of the biggest surprise wins in Oscar history. In her acceptance speech, she said, "I don't have a speech prepared. I thought Lauren would get it." In 2000, during promotion for the film Chocolat (2000), Binoche was invited to the White House by then president Bill Clinton. However, she was unable to make the trip as she was starring in a Broadway re-vamp of Harold Pinter's "Betrayal". Instead, the Clintons came to New York to meet Binoche.

Predilection: None

Critters: Surprisingly, in a city that adores its dogs, there were no one to be seen. The only animals pictured were some chickens and sheep in Cameroon.

Food: Baguettes and pastries are featured as are many fruits and vegetables in the food market.

Sex Spectrum: It is a French film - there is some sex.

Soundtrack: A delightful alive mix.

Opening Titles: An overview of the remarkably beautiful city of Paris.

Visual Art: It is hard not to get excited about the visual qualities of this city of lights and home of the Impressionists.

Theater Audience: Six other Francophiles

Weather: We get to see all four seasons.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I was interested throughout.

Predictability Level: Moderate

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Hmm - no.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Two hours.