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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Paris Can Wait is a sun-kissed dramedy starring Diane Lane that also functions as a travelogue, following two characters on a road trip from the South of France to Paris. There's frank talk about the ups and downs of marriage and the societal virtue of food, art, beauty and more -- all of which might be a little dry/uninteresting for younger viewers. But there's not all that much iffy content: Characters swear infrequently (mostly "hell" and "goddamn") and drink a lot of wine (sometimes getting tipsy). And one character smokes a lot, though another points out the perils of the vice. There's also quite a bit of flirting/romantic tension, though things don't get any racier than a kiss and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene that implies two characters had sex.
What's the story?
PARIS CAN WAIT finds Anne (Diane Lane) and her affectionate-but-too-busy/distracted Hollywood producer husband, Michael (Alec Baldwin), on their final day of a business sojourn in Cannes. Due to an unexpected, work-related detour for Michael, they discover they might not be able to make it to their next destination, Paris, right away. Anne is already suffering from an earache that could very easily get worse if she flies, so she opts to take the train instead. But then Jacques (Arnaud Viard), Michael's French colleague, persuades her to let him drive her to Paris instead, where Michael will meet her. Along the way, Anne's irritation at Jacques' distractable, sometimes-tone-deaf ways are replaced by a delight in the photos she takes, the moments she's able to enjoy, and a growing appreciation for Jacques' love of food, beauty, conversation, and the road less traveled.
Is it any good?
This dramedy has a languorous charm likely to remind viewers that the road less traveled (both literally and metaphorically) may be the tonic you need in a work-focused, social-media-laden world. Aside from the travelogue-worthy scenes of France and the meals that the movie (and Anne) seems to be obsessed with -- she takes beautiful photos of everything, including her food and wine -- Lane is the best part of Paris Can Wait. She's graceful, magnetic, and expressive -- the film almost feels like a sequel to her popular Under the Tuscan Sun.
But here's the downside: Paris Can Wait doesn't really deal with anything that hasn't been exhaustively explored before on film (including in the previously mentioned Under the Tuscan Sun). The unease that Anne feels, both in her decent-but-distracted marriage and as an empty nester (her daughter is in college), is neither new nor surprising. Nor is it enough of an engine to fuel a possible indiscretion, especially with someone who, though he may be attentive, cosmopolitan, and appealing, also appears to be somewhat hobbled by a retrograde sense of relationships and his own set of work frustrations, which could later balloon into the same problems that pull Michael away. Still, don't wait too long to see Paris Can Wait -- it's a fun, gustatory, eye-candy watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Familes can talk about what Paris Can Wait is saying about what's really important in life. Workaholic Michael is compared to laid-back Jacques, who makes time for things like food, conversation, and friendship. Who "wins"? Do you agree? Why? What does Anne learn about life -- and herself -- over the course of the movie?
Are the problems that the characters wrestle with here relatable to people of all walks of life and economic status? How does that affect who it will appeal to?
- In theaters: May 12, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: September 5, 2017
- Cast: Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard, Alec Baldwin
- Director: Eleanor Coppola
- Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
- Genre: Comedy
- Character strengths: Communication
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, smoking and some language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.