Paris

Film
2 out of 5 stars
SAY CHEZ! Binoche and Duris goof around in his apartment.
SAY CHEZ! Binoche and Duris goof around in his apartment.

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Early in Cdric Klapisch’s multicharacter mash note to his hometown, a Frenchman in a beret plays an accordion in front of the Eiffel Tower. You want a clichd Paris, here it is—at least until the scene reveals that it’s a send-up of such postcard prettiness. The musician is an actor shooting a promo for the local tourism board; the camera floats past the film crew and down into the traffic-clogged streets. Welcome to the real Paris: a modern metropolis full of xenophobic shop owners and immigrant employees, single-mom social workers and second-gen stallholders bopping along to a beat-heavy cover of Erik Satie’s romantic “Gnossienne No. 1.”

But while the filmmaker has traded in a candy-colored cosmopolitan fantasy for a slightly grittier one, the world that houses his ensemble drama feels just as movie-movie fake. Any statements about city living are drowned out by stock story lines—a May-December relationship between student (Laurent) and teacher (Luchini), a dancer (Duris) discovering he’s literally dying of a broken heart, a middle-aged woman (Binoche) getting a second chance at l’amour—that don’t complement each other so much as sputter to respective finishes. This could have been a true urban mosaic. Instead, we simply get a vision of Paris as the city of lite.—David Fear

Opens Fri.

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