A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Paris, Je T'Aime is comprised of 18 five-minute shorts that each take place in a different Paris neighborhood and all have to do with love in some way. There's plenty of adult content sprinkled throughout with strong language, some drug use, and a bit of violence. The most poignant shorts deal with loss: a mother tries to go on after losing her young son, a man dies of a stab wound in front of a woman he likes, and a man nurses his terminally ill wife until her death. Love is a major theme, of course, but so is diversity with Parisians of all stripes and backgrounds represented and celebrated.
What's the story?
Eighteen five-minute shorts come together in PARIS JE T'AIME, all by different directors, each representing (and named after) a different part of Paris, and each with love at its center -- somewhere. In "Quais de Seine" (Gurinder Chadha) a romantic love blooms as a Muslim girl and a white Parisian teen connect. In "Place des Victoires" (Nobuhiro Suwa) it's more about love and loss as a mother (Juliette Binoche) tries to go on after her son's death. In "Place des Fetes" (Oliver Schmitz) there's love that could have been when a paramedic watches a stab victim die after remembering that he was the same man who invited her to coffee that morning. The shorts end with "14e arrondissement" (Alexander Payne) where a rather homely American tourist suddenly understands what it is to fall in love with Paris.
Is it any good?
So many great directors, so little time for each. It's almost better, though, because if someone gets a little outlandish or even too heavy you only have to sit through the short for five minutes before you're hit with something that'll probably grab you. Mature teens will gravitate toward the simple, sweet multicultural romance in "Quais de Seine" (Gurinder Chadha). Moms everywhere will feel for the Spanish nanny in "Loin du 16e" (Walter Salles) who leaves her young child for long days to nanny for another. Wes Craven surprises in "Pere-Lachaise" by setting his short in a graveyard without any gore whatsoever (the ghost of Oscar Wilde is dashing, not dashing out anyone's brains with a sledgehammer).
Last and best, Alexander Payne channels the spirit of all American tourists through the eyes of a single, overweight postal worker. And best of all for the oft maligned American in Paris, he makes the French sit through her horrendous accent AND feel for her at the same time. Touche.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Paris from all the perspectives shown here. Which short is your favorite? Which ones didn't grab you?
How did each short have to do with love? Was it harder to find this theme in some?
Which shorts dealt with the topic of diversity? How often do you think these Parisians are represented on film?
- In theaters: May 26, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: November 13, 2007
- Cast: Juliette Binoche, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman
- Directors: Alexander Payne, Alfonso Cuaron, Gus Van Sant, Joel Coen, Wes Craven
- Studio: First Look Pictures
- Genre: Romance
- Run time: 120 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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