2 Days in Paris

Doing everything oneself isn’t generally advisable, but it is often understandable. For a long time I cut my own hair so that if my bangs were too short I could only blame myself. My “Friends-cut” became a pixie in a brief period.

I don’t know who styled Julie Delpy’s hair for 2 Days in Paris, but as I can’t find another attribution, I’m going to assume Delpy did it herself. She’s certainly responsible for virtually everything else on her feature-directing debut, including writing, acting, editing, scoring, and co-producing.

Narcissistic it may seem, but really, who can commit to your working schedule? Who is more loyal, more committed to your artistic vision than you? And, if you require aid outside that one-person circle of trust — this isn’t a one-woman show after all — who better to rely on, who better to cast as your character’s parents and boyfriend, than your real-life parents and ex-boyfriend? How fortunate they’re all actors!

If Delpy’s 2 Days in Paris character, Marion, is any approximation of her actual self, Michel Gondry must be crushing. As a child, Marion imagined snails and ants joking and yelling at one another. But it was a childhood gift — a camera from her mother — that overwhelmingly captivated her. At 35, she has made a life as a New York photographer, comfortable enough to travel to Venice with her American boyfriend of two years, Jack.

A fast-talker and hypochondriac to boot, Jack, played by Adam Goldberg, shouldn’t be boiled down to a tattoed Woody Allen, though the vibe is there. When he agreed to visit Marion’s folks in Paris on their return from Italy, he clearly expected a Godardian, utopian France of acceptance and socialized healthcare, not proof that some stereotypes are true.

A small parade of Marion’s largely still-interested exes doesn’t improve Jack’s feeling for the French, nor for Marion, whose passionate, unedited personality flourishes in her hometown. Delpy has written several very real exchanges between the perhaps doomed lovers. One intellectual wit-match turns into a personal argument turns into sex. Only the final scene, a very emotionally true one, is disappointingly less than well-executed.

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