SXSW 2017 Review: PARIS CAN WAIT

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Filmmaker Eleanor Coppola has spent much of her life and career working behind the scenes with filmmaker family members Frances Ford Coppola (husband), Sofia Coppola (daughter), and Roman Coppola (son).  She has served as her family’s historian/documentarian capturing the process of making movies through both photographs and documentary films.  She received critical acclaim for her documentary film Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse which reveals the problems and obstacles her husband had to overcome to make Apocalypse Now into a cinematic masterpiece.  Her new film Paris Can Wait  is Mrs. Coppola’s first attempt at a narrative feature film and one that seems to express a very personal message for the less famous Coppola.  However, it is a message that feels all too familiar.

Diane Lane stars as Anne, the wife of a major movie producer who spends most of her time following her husband Michael (Alec Baldwin) wherever his career takes him, but also has a passion and talent for photography.  While visiting France, Michael gets called away to put out some fires, leaving Anne under the guidance and supervision of  business associate Jacques (Arnaud Vivard) a charming and passionate man who has his eyes fixated on her.  Jacques is charged with the responsibility of driving Anne to Paris, but decides to offer her an extended tour of France sharing the beautiful sights and delectable delights his country has to offer.

Written and directed by Eleanor Coppola, Paris Can Wait is a pleasant and jaunty movie that celebrates the joys and passions behind exceptional wine, divine cuisine, history, architecture, art and romance.  The film features gorgeous cinematography by Crystal Fournier, solid direction by Coppola and lovely performances by both Lane and Vivard.  The writing is fine; however, the themes and messages about a neglected wife’s discovery of her own passions and desires in life after remaining in the shadow of her husband were actually explored in her daughter Sofia’s film Lost in Translation and actually handled in more compelling and exciting ways.  Watching Anne enjoying her journey here has its joyous moments, but so do various shows on the Food and Travel channels.  Paris Can Wait is a movie people can wait to see on their televisions at home.

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