A film review by Gary Chew
"France is responsible for a lot of your actions," Jack announces to Marion on the soundtrack. Jack (Adam Goldberg), a New Yorker, is the lover of Marion (Julie Delpy), a Parisian. There's nothing that's not French about Marion OR Julie. So the character, Marion is pure French since Julie Delpy is Parisian; born there in 1969.
The other giveaway is the title of this really good chick flick by Ms. Delpy called "2 Days in Paris." Marion and Jack are on their way back to New York from a respite in Venice, but make a two day stop to visit her Parisian parents, played by Julie's actual mother and father, Marie Pillet and Albert Delpy.
Marion is fluent in French and English. Jack speaks only a bit of French. Marion's parents can say even fewer words in English. I'd guess about 65% of the film is in English, the rest in French, subtitled---obscenities and all. The screening I saw at a theater didn't have the subtitles. When I watched a screener DVD WITH the French written out, I learned so much more since I only comprehend Okie.
The couple has been together for about two years, so the relationship has lost some of that first blush luster, but love for one another still gleams in their eyes. There are, albeit, some challenges that lie ahead in the City of Light, mostly for Jack. Meeting the parents is, "Okay, let's do this" for Jack, but running into a string of Marion's former boy friends and lovers isn't so c'est magnifique. Marion, as the French ethos demands, is very open about her life and how she lived and lives it.
One of the sites Jack wants to see in Paris is the resting place of Jim Morrison of The Doors. For some reason, when translated into French, this offends Marion's father. Later, Jack, in one-on-one conversation with Marion's mother, finds the Mrs. had an affair with Mr. Morrison in 1969. The look Adam Goldberg puts on his face for the response is worth the price of admission. By the way, for those of you who aren't familiar with Mr. Goldberg: he's a former boy friend of Ms. Delpy's, and if anyone were to ask me what's he like, I'd say: a cross between Woody Allen and Elliott Gould with an acting persona of Jeff Goldblum.
Goldberg and Delpy have their duet act down as well as Woody and Diane did 30 years ago in "Annie Hall." Real things occur in "2 Days." In one scene both actors break into a giggle about something that is not just acting: it's an existential moment that caused me to think they might well begin those lines again for a re-take. The camera continued to roll as the scene played true.
Buuuut. One thing I must mention: the close of the film is hurried and maybe a bit too subtle. The final scene is much too brief before it locks into a freeze-frame, à la française. Furthermore, a great song is being sung as the film ends: "A Song For You," composed by none other than neat, old Tulsa guy, hisself, Leon Russell, or as Mazeppa calls him: Leo Russell. It's one of my faves of Leon's, for sure, even though Mr. Russell is not the singer on the soundtrack.
The end of "2 Days in Paris" should have been drawn out a minute or even 90 seconds, allowing that great Russell song to give it more sonic foundation. It would have surely touched my heart a bit more and may well have given a clearer "picture" as to how these "2 Days in Paris" came to a conclusion, which I do now after pondering if this film might be a tad autobiographical.
Preview "2 Days in Paris"/"Deux jours à Paris"