What 'Paris, Je T'Aime' seems to be aiming to do is to make us fall in love with the beautiful city again, or indeed for the first time. To do this, the movie leaves no stone unturned, pulling in a host of A-listers from the worlds of directing and acting and challenging them to sell Paris to us in very unique ways.
'Paris, Je T'Aime' is made up of a series of mini stories, all unconnected but for their setting. Some of the stories are wacky, some touching, some funny and some surreal. Individually most are watchable and some are compelling. Together they jar on the senses.
The stories range from that of a grieving mother, who is too tortured by memories of her lost son, to a young mother, who is tied down by her demanding baby son and longs to live a carefree life again. Couples meet and fall in love. Others discuss the terms of their divorce.
What plays out, for the most part, is contrasting views of the perfect life and people's perceptions of their place in the world. Those who have don't want, and those who don't have long for. And this juxtaposition sets up a very interesting premise for storytelling across different social backgrounds and settings within the same city.
But visually, despite the very obvious beauty that Paris brings to the screen, it is difficult to watch the rolling stories back to back in such quick succession. And because each vignette is so short you never really get a chance to connect with any of the characters and their various journeys.
There are a few exceptions. Juliette Binoche portrays a grieving and delusional mother with real conviction, while Natalie Portman convinces as the hyperactive actress who falls for a helpful stranger. Steve Buscemi's Metro experience, under the direction of the Coen brothers, also makes for an amusing spectacle. But in spite of the few short segments that hit home the sentiments of the stories are so fleeting that they never make a lasting impression.
Paris, je suis désolée, mais je ne t'aime pas.
Linda Me Gee