Sophie's Choices

Sophie’s choice of the day or week or month (who knows) is the movie "2 Days in Paris." Anyone who knows me knows I love to hate and/or hate to love France and make no apologies for irrationally holding an entire country responsible for one man’s reckless idiocy. But that won’t poison my declaration d'amour for France via film. This one’s not whole-hog French, but it’s written, directed and scored by Julie Delpy (French born and dual citizen of France and U.S.), whom people also tend to love or hate or love to hate and/or hate to love. I'm in the love to love her camp for the way she perfectly portrays imperfection.

The movie is a dialogue-heavy tale of two days in the city amongst familial and lovers’ dysfunction. a.k.a. normalcy. It's a little a la Before Sunset (and Sunrise), as you might expect from Delpy, who co-wrote the latter, but now the perspective is through the more experienced (in more ways than one) eyes of a mid-thirties unmarried couple. It made me laugh outright a handful of times, and the writing’s so well done it’s... rare. Delpy seems to have escaped the French “chauvin” mentality in her ability to acknowledge some of France’s weaknesses, often shown through (retrospectively) humorous rants (that I can relate to only too well), without letting you forget France's undeniable charm. Ok that's irrelevant yet something I respect about her. What is relevant is that you can probably be in a relationship or not, or be in love or not, or believe in love or not, and still get this movie.

I was put off by the occasional voice-overs, and the ending left my brow a bit furrowed, but a movie on the subject of coupling can only go one of two ways. And if screenwriting is anything like life, I imagine the decision of which way to go furrows the brow and feels like a Sophie’s choice all its own.

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