Not every film is intended for a wide audience, and I don’t expect everyone to be swept away by Eleanor Coppola’s romantic travelogue Paris Can Wait. It focuses on people of a certain age and takes its time meandering around France at its most picturesque . The set-up is simple: a charming fellow escorts a movie producer’s wife from Cannes to Paris, taking every possible detour along the way. They stop to admire beautiful scenery and indulge in sumptuous meals; after enjoying an impromptu picnic, they even imagine themselves recreating Manet’s painting “Le Dejeneur sur l’Herbe.”
Being of that certain age and highly susceptible to the charms of Diane Lane, who plays the female lead, I enjoyed this attractive bon-bon and suspect that others of my ilk will feel the same way. I have a feeling this is exactly the movie that 80-year-old Eleanor Coppola intended to make as her narrative film debut. It feels organic and pure.
Arnaud Viard plays the man who is tasked with shepherding Alec Baldwin’s wife to the City of Light but is in no hurry to get there. Being American, she is eager to arrive at her destination. Being French, he encourages her to savor the pleasures of the journey. He is an unrepentant flirt and while she isn’t immune to his approach, she is happily married and not interested in having a casual affair. She is much more interested in using her keen eye to take photographs along the way—and does, with admirable results.
Paris Can Wait is not destined to become a critical darling, or a box-office hit, but any film that celebrates the beauty of France and its culinary culture can’t and shouldn’t be dismissed. It is also an ideal showcase for Diane Lane. I enjoyed watching it, and as the French say, chac’un àu son goût (to each his own).