Review / ‘Paris Can Wait’ (PG) ***

IT’S reasonable to conclude that, at age 80, Eleanor Coppola has had appropriate life experience for writing and directing her first feature film. Her husband is multiple Oscar winner Francis Ford Coppola; the filmography of their daughter Sofia speaks for itself.

It’s a sweet little film, essentially a two-hander.

One of them is Anne (Diane Lane), wife of filmmaker Michael (Alec Baldwin in essentially an absentee cameo role) who, during a European holiday after their daughter leaves the nest for university, is suddenly called away from Cannes to deal with a production issue (nudge, nudge, wink, wink? Very likely.) They plan to rejoin in Paris. But Anne doesn’t want to travel by air for health reasons.

The other is Jacques (Arnaud Viard), a buddy and business associate of Michael. Jacques plans to drive to Paris in his well-worn Peugeot coupe. He’ll be delighted to give Anne a lift.

Anybody who’s ever seen a movie should have no difficulty working out from this much information what Eleanor Coppola has in mind. Anne and Jacques are going to drive leisurely to Paris, eating great French meals both haut and alfresco, visiting historic and cultural sites, enjoying the scenery, diverging from the main auto-routes to meet his friends (mostly beautiful women) as they go. For Jacques, time is absolutely not of the essence.

The screenplay is delicate and deft even if it sometimes makes assumptions and diversions that stretch our willingness to believe. Diane Lane is dishy. Her portrayal of Anne is playful and charming. Arnaud Viard is an amiable bon vivant who knows exactly what he wants and is prepared to wait for it to fall into his lap. The French countryside is a delight to the eye. Who could ask for more agreeable romantic escapism?

At Palace Electric, Capitol 6, Dendy and Limelight

 

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