As you might guess from the poster, this is an ensemble cast with a handful of stories woven together. It's charming and of course reminds me of "Amelie". Like that film, it shows Paris in its finest light and you want to leave the theater and head for the airport. It's being marketed in America under the title "Avenue Montaigne", but I think the French title is better - "Orchestra Seats". One of the characters talks about how when people go to a play, they try to get closer and closer and closer, until finally they end up in the front row, and then they can't see anything. That's sort of what the film is about - how people strive for some ideal of success, but what they truly want is what makes them happy.
The character at the center of the film is "Jessica", a young woman who has arrived in Paris from the country and talked her way into a job as a waitress at a cafe on Avenue Montaigne, across from the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. She is hired even though no woman has ever been a server in the cafe, because they are facing the "perfect storm" of the restaurant business - in a few days there will be a play starring a famous tv star, a concert pianist's performance and a big art auction all at the same time. Jessica begins delivering food to these theaters and gets to know the famous tv star, the concert pianist and the man selling off his art collection. Each of these people is striving for happiness, trying to fix whatever isn't working in their lives.
This is basically a fairy tale, with everyone having a happy ending and things just falling into place, but I really enjoyed the film. The acting all around was really good. As I mentioned, the scenes of Paris are gorgeous. And the music played by the pianist through out the film is wonderful. The film was the French entry for the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film. It was a finalist, but did not get a nomination, probably because it is perceived as too light. This film will be shown again here in the Twin Cities at the Walker Art Center on March 3 as part of the Women With Vision Film Festival. You can also see the last Talk Cinema feature, Amazing Grace, for free at the Walker on this Tuesday night. I'd recommend both films.
I also finished this book yesterday:
I can't remember why I started reading the "Holiday Murder Series", but I've been keeping up with this series. There's one more that's been published that I haven't read, and I think that's the last in the series now. That may be for the best, as I think perhaps it's played itself out. For those unfamiliar with this series, the main character is an ex-nun who leaves the convent and returns to a small town in New York, where she finds herself solving murders that have happened on holidays. In the first book she was just out of the convent, adjusting to life "on the outside". Now she's a married woman with a child and a career as a part-time professor. I've enjoyed the series and following this character, but I knew who the murderer was in this book almost as soon as a clue was dropped. Even though I knew who committed the murder, I coudn't figure out why. Even when it was revealed, it still didn't really make that much sense to me. I'd say this one is for those who already read the series or die-hard mystery lovers.