Paris Can Wait

Eleanor CoppolaUSA92 minutes2016PGColourEnglish

Eleanor Coppola (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse) directs this sexy and charming road movie, about a fiftysomething empty-nester (Diane Lane) with a workaholic husband (Alec Baldwin) who embarks on an impromptu, two-day journey through the French countryside with a rakish bon vivant (Arnaud Viard).

Charting the midlife renewal of a woman's independence and sensuality, Eleanor Coppola's road movie takes us on an intoxicating tour de France lined with heavenly vistas, art and architecture, and visions of cuisine régionale to die for.

In her early fifties, Anne (Diane Lane) has arrived at a turning point. Her daughter has left home to attend university, and her nest now feels doubly empty because her workaholic husband (Alec Baldwin), a successful film producer, is chronically absent. When he is called away on location, Anne is offered transport from Cannes to Paris with her husband's friend and business associate (Arnaud Viard), a seductive bon vivant who unabashedly sets sights on his comely passenger. The trip could be done in a matter of hours, but it stretches into a leisurely two-day journey brimming with diversions such as beautiful churches, fine food, delectable wine — and expert wooing. While the rakish connoisseur regards the many young women he might easily bed as mere soufflé, Anne, he declares, is crème brûlée. But will Anne ultimately surrender to his charms?

Coppola is best known for Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, her incisive, gripping production diary that ushered us deep into the chaotic genesis of her husband's legendary epic, Apocalypse Now. Nothing could be more different than this sexy, effervescent travelogue. As writer and director, and as matriarch to a fiendishly talented filmmaking dynasty, Coppola has been in the business for over five decades now. Her first step away from documentary was a long time in coming, but Paris proves to be well worth the wait.