Yesterday I got to finally see a rom-com movie that I did not hate. (See my previous rant on the subject here.) This was the true tour de force performance “2 Days in Paris” in which Julie Delpy stars, wrote the script, directs, composes, edits, and does a few other random things. Why did I not hate this movie? Glad you asked. Several things come to mind.
- It was about an actual, established relationship. There were no plot elements associated with “falling in love” or star-crossed lovers of any sort. It had this in common with the classic Tracy-Hepburn farce “Adam’s Rib“–the whole movie started with a couple in an established relationship and had as it’s plot points the ups and downs in the relationship across a couple of misadventures, in the case of the current film a post-vacation “meet the parents” exercise, and in Adam’s Rib a court trial with the partners defending competing parties.
- This Delpy film was actually laugh-out-loud funny, thus fulfilling the “comedy” part to perfection.
- This Delpy film was romantic not because of a classic gooey romance bit, but because the couple at hand struggle to work through real relationship issues and at the same time still find something redeeming in the relationship that makes it worth sticking around and fighting it out.
- This film kicked in the stomach the usual sorts of silly ways in which Paris the city plays out as romantic, and of course since Delpy is French we see a different Paris than the usual slushy version as viewed with American eyes. The film also gets across the frustration of an American not being able to follow the rapid-fire French conversation.
- Delpy’s real life parents play her parents in the film, with her father especially giving a fantastic and interesting performance.
For me, it was a great film. I came out of it feeling optimistic and hopeful. And my crush on Julie Delpy only continues to grow. (I have a well-known tendency to develop asexual crushes on talented people!) I was pretty much enamoured of her after having seen the “Before Sunset” sequel–for which she was nominated for an Oscar for writing–in which she also played the guitar and sang along with writing and acting. This new film is grittier and contains some very Gallic sight-gag humour that might not play well in the US, but overall, from me and the critics alike, two big thumbs up.