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In Paris, the pharmacist Alice (Alice Taglioni) has been an obsessed
Woody Allen fan since she was fifteen and has seen all his movies and
talks to him alone in her room. When she meets Pierre (Louis-Do de
Lencquesaing) in a night-club, she finds that he loves jazz and she
believes he is her prince charming. But when Pierre sees Alice's sister
Hélène (Marine Delterme), they immediately fall in love with each other
and marry each other.
Years later, Alice is a spinster that administrates the pharmacy that belonged to her father (Michel Aumont) and believes that movies can heal many diseases. However her father insistently tries to find a husband for her. When the alarm technician Victor (Patrick Bruel) meets Alice, she does not see any future relationship with him. But one day, Victor brings Alice to meet Woody Allen in Paris and the director gives an advice to Alice.
"Paris-Manhattan" is a delightful French comedy and certainly cult for any fan of Woody Allen. Like the lead actress, I have watched all the movies of Woody Allen and my favorite is Manhattan (but fortunately I have never had a conversation alone with him like she does). When I started to watch the movie, I believed that it was a Woody Allen's film since even the letters in the presentation were very similar to his movies. But when Woody Allen himself appears on the screen, this was the greatest surprise I had. In the end, I loved this great little movie. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Paris-Manhattan"
"Paris-Manhattan" features a woman obsessed with Woody Allen, much like
myself and many others are. She lives in Paris, works as a pharmacist,
is single, spends her days discussing Woody Allen movies and spends her
nights discussing her life with Woody Allen meaning, a poster of
Woody Allen. Luckily the film got the rights to Allen's movies, and he
responds to her with things he has said before.
The beginning of the movie is the funniest with the poster version of Allen delivering all of the film's witticisms meaning Allen's own witticisms from his own movies. We have laughed at them all before, but there's a reason we still watch them they're still funny. He complains about life, complains about death and offers her zero constructive advice. But that's why we love him. The heroine, Alice Ovitz (Alice Taglioni), seems to get frustrated by that, but she's frustrated with her life in general.
She's in love with Pierre, but Pierre is married to her sister. Her sister is a lawyer and has a teenage daughter, while Alice is just a pharmacist working in their father's store, and gets sets up on dates by her parents, her sister and her perfect brother-in-law. Alice was a frustrating heroine. She would complain incessantly about being single but when someone would set her up on a date, she would try to assert her independence and say that she's a career woman with no interest in being with a man. She is, unfortunately, a terribly written character. And a movie dedicated to Woody Allen deserves much better.
The filmmaker definitely knows her Woody Allen, which is, of course, a must for a film like this. The film switches from a comedy of family entanglement to a romantic comedy to a comedic caper and back to a romantic comedy with ease just as Allen himself has done throughout his career. When Alice's romantic misgivings become tiring, the film switches pace to a mischievous comedic caper à la "Manhattan Murder Mystery" or "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion". It's too bad the filmmaker wasn't able to infuse any of her Allen knowledge into the main character. When somebody says to her that "'Manhattan' hasn't aged well" she argues back with "No." Apparently she has nothing else to say on the subject.
When the film switches back to a romantic comedy, Alice is now at the point where she has to move on with her life and so the Woody Allen poster comes down. Blaming him for her romantic rut. But he wasn't the one to tell her to idolize rich, handsome men who lie and cheat. But it has also already been established that she's a terrible character, so we just have to get past that.
But the good thing is, we can get past all that. First, Alice's romantic counterpart has a brilliant line about gods and the men Alice idolizes. And ultimately "Paris-Manhattan" is funny. It's a feel-good romantic comedy that also delivers an ending that all romanticists and realists alike dream about.
Paris-Manhattan (2012), written and directed by Sophie Lellouche, stars
Alice Taglioni as Alice, a 30-something pharmacist in Paris who
worships Woody Allen. Alice can't find the man of her dreams. (Well,
she found him, but he married her sister.) So, instead of looking for
another man, she spends her time watching Woody Allen films and talking
to Woody's poster, which hangs on the wall in her room. (The poster
answers back, using quotes from Allen's films.)
Of course, she finally meets that man of her dreams, but she doesn't realize he's the man of her dreams. He's not sure she's the woman of his dreams either.
There are secondary plots about the boyfriend of Alice's young niece, and about whether Alice's brother-in-law is having an affair. Neither subplot adds much to the film, but they keep the movie moving forward.
In a way, I'm surprised that I enjoyed this film as much as I did. However, when you have a movie that is set in Paris, a protagonist who is strikingly attractive, who quotes Woody Allen the way other people quote the Talmud, how can you not enjoy it?
We saw this film at Rochester's Dryden Theatre as part of the excellent Rochester Jewish Film Festival. It will work well on DVD. It's worth seeing, as long as you don't expect "Hannah and her Sisters," or even "Play it Again, Sam."
I rarely watch films on planes apart from the small screen, I hate the ridiculous censors applied particularly by aircraft operated from Muslim countries. Anyway it was a long flight, I knew nothing of the film, the title I think I'd heard of, it was reminiscent of course of "Paris, Texas" so I was intrigued. A romantic comedy nice and easy. It was delightful, I was unsure whether it was a 'Woody Allen' film or not but when I discovered that it wasn't it made it even more wonderful that he appeared, little more than a cameo but perfect. I cried with joy, very sweet, light hearted and fun. If you don't enjoy it perhaps you have a wooden heart?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is getting weird. Yesterday I saw a movie in which Jacques Dutronc played classical piano and co-starred with Isabelle Huppert. The film was made in 1979 and pre-figured Merci, pour le chocolate twenty odd years later in which Dutronc is a classical pianist and plays opposite Huppert. Now, something very similar: Years and years ago Woody Allen wrote a play which was later adapted for the screen. It was called Play It Again, Sam, and the premise was that the lead character, Allen himself, held conversations with, and received advice from, Humphrey Bogart, his idol and, at the time the play was written and the film made, deader than Vaudeville. Now, it is Allen himself who enters into 'conversations' with Alice Taglioni who is his number one fan. Apart from that this is either a delightful rom-com or totally unrealistic rubbish depending on if you go to the movies to be entertained and transported for a couple of hours or to suffer unrealistic rubbish. Me? I loved it. Last time I saw Alice Taglioni she was a hard-nosed cop after a serial killer (The Prey) and before that she was the ditsy blonde mistress of Daniel Auteuil in a Francis Weber gem. This has lots of charm going for it and any film that features Ella singing Larry Hart's standout lyric to Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered over the credits with the verse yet cannot be bad and when a little later the lead actress confesses to 'adoring' Cole Porter what's not to like.
Alice (Alice Taglioni) is a bit of an old maid or at least those around her believe that. They are collectively working to bring the right man for a good introduction and are constantly working at facilitating romance. All the while, she has already has found her soul mate in Woody Allen whom she instates her hopes and dreams and Allen shares with her the ins and outs of life and discovering love. There are many funny Allen maxims but one that stands out is that the two most important decisions is life is one's work and sex. Full of twist of turns, you realize in Paris-Manhattan that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince or it's OK if you never find 'the one'. Life has a way of working out. This is a cute romantic comedy and fun to watch. Saw this as part of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't really have a spoiler except that I point out that other
reviews do even if they don't warn the reader. Maybe it isn't a spoiler
This movie is rated on IMDb about as well as many movies by Woody Allen that I personally found to be excellent. So it is not a mortal sin if I say that this movie is (almost) excellent in the sense that I truly enjoyed watching it despite (or maybe because of) some of the silly moments and somewhat weird subplots in it.
I would give about 7 out of 10 to this move but I chose "10" in my formal rating in the hope that it will improve the current average rating of 6.2 that I found a little unfair.
Here is an issue that I am very curious about. It appears (but I am not certain) that many of the Jewish characters in this movie weren't Jewish in real life. In American films, Jewish roles are usually (although not exclusively) played by Jews. I wonder if there is a sufficiently large pool of Jewish actors in France. France being such a secular republic, it is hard to know who is Jewish and who is not unless their names are "suspicious". If one looks up Wikipedia, the religion and ethnicity of American actors are quite frequently mentioned.
I used to be French and I used to love Woody Allen - "used" because of a combination of geographical mutation and a vanishing memory... I remember seeing this movie in Sydney a few years ago, so taped it when it was on TV a few days ago. This time I watched it on my own, perhaps because I felt it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I had a wonderful time revisiting... I did not worry about expectations and really it's one's best way to approach it, not to pull it on a slab and dissect it. (the same goes for so many other movies; it supposes to be fun, and it is. I liked the originality to involve W Allen the way it is done and make a romantic and funny story out of it. I was interested to read one of the comment mentioning that years ago Woody Allen, in "Play it Again Sam", Does a similar thing when he converse with a certain "Humphrey Bogart". I would be surprised if it was just a coincidence. Although I can't say it has any other bearing on this film.
Alice is a thirty-something single woman living in Paris who has been
obsessed with Woody Allen since she was a teenager. She lives her life
through Woody Allen's words of wisdom.
Alice's parents try to find her a suitable partner, which she possibly finds while working at the family pharmacy when a local man, Victor, fits an alarm system. The film ends with Woody Allen making an appearance where he assures Alice that Victor is a great guy who is ideal for her.
Entertaining comedy. Occasionally loses its pace and in places the story could be a little tighter.
I had no expectations about this film, all I knew was it was French
about a woman who had a penchant for Woody Allen. When you have no
expectations and you see a really good film, you come out thinking:
"That was an excellent film." It was so light, delicate, feminine I
guess is one of the right words.
People who find this film boring should definitely stick to Bond films, cops and robbers, anything described as an "Action Flick". Don't ever look at any of the films of any of the directors who feature in books about great films. Skip Almodovar, Bunuel, Godard, Fellini, Bertolucci, Bergman, Eisenstein, probably best not to bother with Woody Allen either, they'll just bore your socks off. Come back to them after you grow up!
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