And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: French Exit

If this film does one good thing, it’s that it reminds us what a wonderful screen presence Michelle Pfeiffer is. She stars as Frances, a New York socialite who, following her husband’s death, somehow spends all the money left to her and in her social embarrassment, runs away to Paris where a friend has offered her an apartment she isn’t using. (Why don’t I have a friend like that?) She takes along her son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), snatching him out of school and away from his girlfriend and they board an ocean liner where he meets and beds Madeleine (Danielle Macdonald, Dumplin’), a fortune teller. Frances also takes her cat Little Frank (perhaps a reincarnation of the dead husband Frank) along, sneaking him aboard. Once they get to Paris and the small apartment (small by a rich New Yorker’s standards, that is) they meet a series of quirky people and have a series of peculiar encounters. The movie has a Woody Allen meets Wes Anderson vibe, though it doesn’t rise to either of their levels. It’s one of those flicks without much of a plot that depends on you wanting to spend some time with its characters. I’m not sure I did.

Lost in Paris Review

And the award for this year’s best slap-stick movie goes to … Lost In Paris, hands down! And though I’m not really a fan of most modern slap-stick, I loved this film. In it librarian Fiona (Fiona Gordon) who lives in the icy north of Canada receives a letter from her favorite Aunt who lives in Paris asking for her help, so she jumps at the chance and heads to France only to find Aunt Martha (Emmanuelle Riva) MIA. And then after losing all her possessions in an accidental plunge into the Seine, she meets kooky hobo Dom (Dominique Abel) who decides to help her find Martha, whether she wants him to or not. He is smitten. She’s desperate.


Martin Scorsese’s new child friendly adaptation of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” called simply Hugo is the second film I’ve seen this month that is a paean to the world of silent film. Unlike The Artist, however, this one is neither silent nor is it in black and white. It is full, glorious color and even available in 3D. (I opted for the 2D version.) It is the story of an orphaned boy (Asa Butterfield) who lives in the secret chambers of a Paris train station keeping all the clocks running on time, while hiding from the over-zealous station master (Sacha Baron Cohen) who has it in for unaccompanied children.

Sarah’s Key

It’s been several weeks since I saw Sarah’s Key, but it’s the type of movie that sticks with you, as most Holocaust-era set films often do. But what sets this one apart is its spotlight on an event that I certainly don’t recall ever hearing about in school: a Nazi-authorized roundup of Jews in France in 1942. Not Germany (or Austria or Poland…), but France. Thousands of men, women and children were held for two days in cramped, unsanitary conditions at the Velodrome d’Hiver in Paris (think ‘Superdome’ during Hurricane Katrina) then carted off to concentration camps. That’s the context for the film’s story, which is based on a best-selling novel by Tatiana de Rosnay.


I heard about Chéri when it was around, but being in small town USA, it was only here for an instant and I missed it. Fortunately, it is now on DVD and it is a great chick flick, especially for women over 35. 50+ and still ravishing, Michelle Pfeiffer is lovely playing Léa, a courtesan of a certain age in Belle Époque Paris. Rupert Friend (Albert in The Young Victoria) plays Chéri, the 19-year-old son of one of Léa’s old courtesan rivals (Kathy Bates). He has known and loved Léa since childhood, and when his mother needs someone to talk to him about his directionless life, she calls Léa.

Julie & Julia

Meryl Streep has channeled Julia Child. She is marvelous. I love her. Like Julia, I love food and I love cooking, so this movie spoke to me, though I am sure you could be culinarily impaired and still enjoy it on many levels. It is very frequently very funny and just plain fun to watch.

Broken English

This is the epitome of a chick flick: Nora is 30-something single woman in New York City, friends are all partnered up, she only meets loser guys, she is feeling lonely, drinking too much, having anxiety attacks, and basically spiraling out of control. But just when it gets to the edge of too much, in pops charming Frenchman Julien. By now she is totally jaded and nearly pushes him away, but succumbs to his charms and allows herself to have a wonderful weekend with him only to find that he is leaving to go back to France. So what does she do? After a bit of soul searching and a visit to a psychic, she quits her job and heads to Paris to see him. Only she loses his number (and he has a name like Smith so no phone book.) Won’t spoil the ending, but it is mostly a fun little movie.