(Movie Review by James D. Bass) Looking up Julie Delpy’s bio online reveals a recurring theme as you scroll through all of the roles that she has played over the years. Admittedly her acting career has been complex and eclectic starting with her first credit in a French film back in 1978 all the way to recent work that is still in production. However, once you travel past her appearances you find work that the Paris born Delpy has done behind the camera.
And almost all of it seems to be on her personal independent film “2 Days in Paris”. Covering everything from starring role, writer, director, and producer to editing and soundtrack. It’s quite apparent that this was a labor of love that she felt had to be made. A labor that is, ironically, all about love.
Arriving in Paris after two very unsatisfying weeks spent in Venice due to illness, the couple stop over in Marion’s (Julie Delpy) apartment located above her parents. She and her boyfriend of two years, Jack (Adam Goldberg) settle in and immediately launch into jabbing at each other like a fencing match. And for the remaining 90+ minutes of “2 Days in Paris” the match continues with each one striking hits whenever the other opponent drops their guard.
The writing by Delpy is certainly complex, just as any relationship can be where the two are connected by love, but bombarded by the unpredictability of life. However, in the case of Marion the wreckage that begins to pummel through their relationship seems to be self inflicted over the years prior to her meeting of Jack in America. A steady stream of ex-lovers seems to come from every corner of Paris whether walking the streets, eating in a café, or especially attending a cocktail party with friends.
Through a constant stream of French with English subtitles except when Jack enters into the conversation Marion interacts with her fellow Parisians in what one can only assume is normal European, freely sexual behavior. However, while Jack’s character appears to be the neurotic, half-Jewish, self-absorbed New Yorker at first it becomes startlingly clear that he is the victim. Showing amazing patience and understanding as he is accosted by constant information about Marion’s previous exploits, and enduring her frequent outbursts Jack begins to emerge as the rock that anchors the relationship to Earth.
Billed as a comedy “2 Day in Paris” doesn’t deliver the kind of laugh out-loud hilarity that one expects from American cinema. A common explanation of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results”. As such, American movies could be considered insane, except that their main goal is to pull in the same blockbuster box-office totals as their predecessors. Independent films such as Delpy’s project can be refreshing in contrast when they provide a unique perspective.
However, there is something to be said about the comfort of the familiar. “2 Days in Paris” will make viewers uncomfortable from beginning to end, and critics have lauded it’s atypical presentation of a relationship in crisis. In the end, though, hope seems to be the only victim that doesn’t recover. This is not a film meant to teach couples about the questions of love, for which there are no correct answers. It is more of a warning. Committed couples with years of experience might enjoy the chaos of this film, and the subtlety of the humor. Newlyweds should probably stick to comfort food.
Julie Delpy (director) / Julie Delpy (screenplay)
CAST: Julie Delpy … Marion
Adam Goldberg … Jack
Daniel Brühl … Lukas
Marie Pillet … Anna, Marion’s mother
Albert Delpy … Jeannot, Marion’s father
Aleksia Landeau … Rose, Marion’s sister
Adan Jodorowsky … Mathieu