I’ve been to France twice and would go back in a heartbeat if we got the chance. It’s a beautiful country with so much history, and their climate is warm enough that their spring feels like summer to Canadian visitors like us. And above all else, the food in France is wonderful – the French do gourmet dining as well or better than anyone else in the world. Eleanor Coppola seems to have similar feelings in France but instead of wistfully looking at pictures of Paris (which is what I’m doing right now), she got to work and made her own chance to spend time there, by writing and directing Paris Can Wait.
One thing that is readily apparent is Coppola’s background in documentaries (most if not all of which have chronicled her family members’ films). She captures some beautiful shots of the French countryside and intersperses some well-shot photographs into the movie (courtesy of Lane’s character’s convenient hobby). The photos were a good way to show off the food, and Paris Can Wait features so much delicious-looking food.
I can’t fault Coppola for taking the opportunity to sightsee in France on other people’s money, and tagging along on the journey was enjoyable even though there is nothing particularly memorable about it. Diane Lane plays the same role she always does as the hopeful and optimistic woman who is taking stock of her life, Alec Baldwin appears for about five minutes total as Lane’s husband before jetting off and leaving Lane with his business partner (played by Arnaud Viard), and that basically takes care of all the speaking parts in this movie.
Paris Can Wait is simple and straightforward with no surprises. You get exactly what you’d expect, which may or may not be a good thing. I think you will enjoy this movie if: (a) you like traditional by-the-numbers rom-coms; (b) you are a member of Diane Lane’s fan club; or (c) you wish you were in France eating gourmet meals that cost 800 Euro and up.
If you’re not in that last category yet then get there! My advice? Instead of reading about romantic comedies, take a date and your chequebook to a Michelin-starred restaurant immediately (preferably one that brings individual carts to your table for the cheese and dessert courses, like we were treated to at Guy Savoy). And then post your food porn pictures in the comments (bonus points for pictures of the carts in all their glory)!