Sunday, June 4, 2017

Can Paris Wait?

The other day I went to see "Paris Can Wait", a frothy romantic comedy starring Diane Lane and many courses of beautiful French food. Diane Lane is beautiful too. This was not a movie on my radar, but a friend was curious about 81-year-old director Eleanor Coppola, long-time wife and creative partner of Francis Ford Coppola, mother of Sofia Coppola and aunt of Nicholas Cage. She's not exactly a novice filmmaker, but this is her first dramatic feature, supposedly based on an incident from her life.

Eleanor, right, on set

The set-up is a little trite. Loved but somewhat neglected wife of successful film producer (Alec Baldwin) is given a lift from Cannes to Paris by one of her husband's business partners, a suave Frenchman (Arnand Viard) with every intention of taking the long route. The plot doesn't exactly go where you think it will, but I did find myself waiting for it to get there.

On the way we are treated to many lovely meals (including snacks and picnics), orchestrated and explained by the food-absorbed Frenchman (who also smokes a lot). Between meals, the film becomes a travelogue of highlights along the way— a Roman viaduct, Cezanne's favorite mountain, the former home of  pioneering film makers the Lumiere brothers, and a textile museum (of particular interest to our heroine).

Alec Baldwin, Diane Lane

Diane Lane plays Anne. She appreciates her good life but knows her celebrity husband takes center stage. She has a college-age daughter and just closed her "dress shop", presumably in Hollywood. Diane Lane, age 52, looks the part of a beautiful woman aging naturally and gracefully. There is no way you wouldn't want to look like her. Her makeup whispers not shouts; her hair is wonderful California stuff that falls back into place when tousled. Her clothes, for the most part, are not meant to be noticed, but I found myself studying them.

For half the film Anne wears a white silk shirt, untucked over a pair of beige pants. She adds a beige jacket and a beige tote. It's neutral on purpose. She's not really put together as much as just dressed.

When she arrives at the hotel, the first thing Anne unpacks is a beautiful and colorful silk kimono, which she carefully arranges on the bed. We don't yet know she loves textiles, so this struck me as odd. Personally I don't lay out my dressing gown on the hotel bed. I don't even travel with a bathrobe. I just hope the hotel will provide a nice terry one.

Anne changes into a rather stiff red dress for dinner. She looks pretty but not particularly stylish. When asked if it had been from her shop, she says, "No; it's French", but that's all we learn.

I did like what she wore the next day— a blue A-line midi skirt, worn with a white t-shirt and silver slip-ons. That skirt is a flattering choice for anyone tired of pants but not thrilled with her legs. It's a decidedly retro look. See my closing thoughts. She adds a short navy jacket and a baseball cap and looks adorable. We discover she is wearing pantyhose. Another odd note. For good or bad, we just don't wear pantyhose like we used to.

The Frenchman turns up in loafers without socks, and Anne is aghast. She produces a pair of her husband's socks for him to wear. My 2017 husband always wears loafers without socks, so I didn't see why the fuss.  There's a little bit of business with a necklace, a bracelet, a paisley shawl and a pair of killer heels. In a very sleight movie it's interesting that wardrobe plays such a big part.

"Paris Can Wait" reminded me a bit of "Two for the Road" with Audrey Hepburn and a bit more of "The Trip to Italy" with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.  It was better than I thought but not quite good enough. 

The movie feels like it should have been made 30 years ago. Those pantyhose for sure.



  1. I love your analysis, Michelle and I think that paris will certainly have to wait on this one! Alex Baldwin's career/character is so much more interesting these days - older, wiser, sexier in my opinion than when he was young and brash.
    Panty hose?!! Went out with the ark!

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  3. Ah Two for the Road....Audrey's every outfit, down to the shirt over the bathing suit. Sublime and perfect. Diane Lane also wears the "not really meant to be noticed" wardrobe in "Unfaithful"