On DVD: 
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Running Time: 
130 Minutes

This is just the type of film to watch if you’re feeling a little down and need something to cheer you up, even for a little while.

“Paris” is a tiny slice out of the lives of eight main characters all living in Paris. They don’t all know each other, but each one impacts someone else in the bunch. “Paris” is a series of beautifully-woven stories of everyday people who just want to be happy.

Pierre (Duris) is a former dancer with a heart condition and a transplant is the only cure. No longer able to dance, Pierre spends his days inside his apartment watching the city of Paris live beneath his lifeless cityscape apartment. He confides in his sister, Elise (Binoche), a single-mother of three, and tells her what is happening, but refuses to tell their parents. Elise is intent on taking care of him, moving the entire family in to live with Pierre in his smallish apartment until a donor is available. She tries to give him everything he needs to be happy even if it includes quasi-stalking his neighbor and setting him up with a coworker. Actually, the “sex” scene is one of the funnier bits in the film.
Roland is a history teacher-turned history TV show host. Philippe is his brother, a successful architect, married with a baby on the way (who happens to look just like Dustin Hoffman—not part of the plot, just an observation). When their father dies, everything begins to change for them. Roland begins to question his sanity and takes up with one of his students, Laetitia (Laurent) feeling like he’s reclaimed his youth. Unfortunately, Laetitia is at least 20 years his junior and hasn’t even started to live her life. She also happens to live across the way from Pierre who has noticed her on many occasions.

Philippe is secure in his perfect life (until Roland starts to question himself, that is) and begins to experience every anxiety a successful businessman and father-to-be can have.

Jean works at the open food market with his estranged wife, Caroline. Their daughter is friends with Elise’s daughter who often talk about one another to their moms. Jean has noticed Elise on several occasions and has even tried asking her out for a drink, but there may still be some feelings for Caroline.

Caroline, on the other hand, is trying to move on with her life pursuing a relationship with another market worker whether Jean likes it or not.

Khadija and Benoit (whose stories are not at all related) are two North African transplants set on living a happy life in Paris no matter what it takes; Khadija patisserie employee (who has also been noticed by Pierre) and Benoit a former cabana boy of the stinking rich.

Each story begins with a sad or lost character whose life is improved as the movie progresses. Mr. Klapisch doesn’t hit you over the head with “Hey, these people kind of know each other and they’re connected so pay attention because it’s important!” None of that. Some of the characters happen to know each other and others don’t, but the point of the whole story is that their lives change and are better for whatever crap they’ve had to deal with. Sometimes the rainbow is at the end of the bucket of slop. Not an actual Irish saying, by the way.

“Paris” is set and filmed in Paris, is gorgeous to watch, and is beautifully-acted. Is Juliette Binoche ever bad? No, never. It is subtitled, but not difficult to read. What I mean is there are no yellow words on a white background and blends just fine with the rest of the scene. This is just the type of film to watch if you’re feeling a little down and need something to cheer you up, even for a little while.

Review by Jennifer Isbell