© Senator/Central

Paris Manhattan
France 2012

Opening 4 Oct 2012

Directed by: Sophie Lellouche
Writing credits: Sophie Lellouche
Principal actors: Alice Taglioni, Patrick Bruel, Marine Delterme, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Michel Aumont

First there was the Ken Loach film Looking for Eric, in which the main character constantly talks to a poster of his idol, the soccer player Eric Cantona. Then there was Julie Delpy's Two Days in New York in which Chris Rock talks to a life-size cutout of Obama, and now we have Sophie Lellouche's Paris Manhattan, in which Alice (Alice Taglioni) actually has dialogues with a poster of a younger Woody Allen.

Alice is an attractive young pharmacist in Paris who resists the constant pressure of her family to find a husband. She prefers to take refuge in her discussions with Woody, to whose films she started going when she was 15. She and Woody share the opinion that the world is too full of suffering. Her pharmacy practically doubles as a videothek. If a customer has a problem that Alice feels is not entirely medical but psychological, then she discreetly hands over a DVD of a Woody Allen film to help the customer put matters into perspective.

Meanwhile her father is busy handing out business cards to get her more business, her sister and brother in law are trying to matchmake, and she finds out that her mother is a secret alcoholic. She is burdened by relationship problems and, when she meets Victor (Patrick Bruel), she has a hard time accepting the fact that she is falling in love with a man who doesn't show romantic inclinations. The film is terrific. Great actors, Cole Porter music, intellectual discussions, the family situations – all give Paris Manhattan the atmosphere of an actual Woody Allen movie. And when Victor finally, by coincidence, finds a way of "giving his best" romantically, then Alice is definitely won over. There is even a surprise guest appearance by Woody Allen! (Thelma Freedman)

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