I love Paris, and I do want to go there. I just hope there isn’t so much love there, as it is in here.
Paris comes to life in this whimsical patchwork of 18 five-minute shorts united by a common theme — love in the City of Lights — and helmed by an international cast of filmmakers, including Gus Van Sant, Olivier Assayas and Alexander Payne. Natalie Portman plays an American actress who captures the heart of a blind student; Juliette Binoche is visited by a ghostly Willem Dafoe; Bob Hoskins solicits a prostitute’s advice on pleasing his wife.
The one thing about this film, is that there all just a bunch of short films, wrapped into a 2 hour film. There are so many stars, so many great directors here, that you would think it would be too hard to put them all into one film, when it could have been better, I still enjoyed it for the most part.
Some of the short stories are better than others, and not all of them are exactly about love. There are some very dark concerning with the deals about racism, drugs, homosexuality, death, and many more, and its not just one big love-fest.
The problem with this film is that some of these short stories just didn’t make any sense at all, and didn’t seem like they belonged. There was one with Elijah Wood, and this other chick as vampires, and it played out as a horror story, but made no sense as to why it was in the film, and what it had to do with the subject of love. There was one more, directed by Wes Craven, with Emily Mortimer and Rufus Sewell, that had to do with death or something like that, and it seemed just so stupid and took me right out of the film.
I have to give it to three directors who did the best with their showcases: Coen Bros., Alexander Payne, and Tom Tykwer. The Coen Bros. add in their own little flavor of whimsy, and it works with its hilarity. Alexander Payne strong fully closes out the film with a sad, but joyful, ode to Paris. However, the best here was indeed Tykwer’s who added in a great love story with Natalie Portman, but with a twist. The things he does with the camera in that short is just magnificent, and captured the whole essence that the film was going for.
Consensus: Some stories are better than others, and some had no intention of being there, but Paris, Je T’aime, works because there is enough wonderful whimsy, and love added to this spectacle.
Alexander Payne’s entry was probably my favourite. Like you, I thought the film was a bit patchy but it’s something that plagues these sorts of portmanteau movies where some sections are noticeably better than others.
Yeah, some of them were great, some made no sense as to why they were put in.
Been wanting to see this for the Coen short, sounds like there’s some other good ones too. Didn’t know Tykwer had one in this, cool.
Yeah, the Coens one is funny, but Tykwer’s is the best in my opinion. It really does show love, tragedy, and humor all in about 7 minutes. Great stuff!
Good review of the film. Like you said, it was rather uneven and I was mildly disappointed that none of the stories really swept me off my feet. Nonetheless, not a bad way of spending a couple hours in the City of Light.
Exactly, I wish I was totally taken off my feat too, however, I was only mildly pleased.
Agree with your consensus. My fave story is the one with the older divorced couple, and the least is the Coens, but then I’m not a fan of their work in general. I like the Natalie Portman one, too. It’s a pretty nifty idea, certainly better than the copycat Valentine’s Day!
Oh I know, that and this other one called New York, I Love You, are such rip-offs.
Great film(s) indeed. There were some I skipped through, but the Alexander Payne one I thought too was the best of the bunch.
Great review here. This one was hit-or-miss for me. Very uneven. Payne’s was by far the most compelling, I think.
I love the idea of creating this collage of short films to represent various views and approaches to love.
But some of these shorts just didn’t work. Still, there’ were so many great ones and I found it to be such a solid film overall that I thought it was good enough to pick up on DVD.
I loved the last segment with the aging lady reading to her French class about her experiences in Paris. I’m moved every time I watch her section. I wish the others were just as powerful. I also enjoyed Van Sant’s short.