Film Review: "Picture Paris" (2011)

Written and directed by: Brad Hall Running Time: 29 minutes Cast: Ellen Larson: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Narrator: Eric Elmosnino Randy Larson: D. W. Moffet Olivia: Rachael Harris

"Picture Paris", a short film on HBO, is a collaborative effort between husband and wife team, Brad Hall and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. The film is about a suburban housewife whose youngest child is about to fly the coop and go to college. She finds herself wondering what to do in this next phase of her life. Here she is with her husband of so many years, trying to figure out who she is if she isn't a mom raising kids. Being an avid francophile, she plans a trip to Paris, leaving the day after her son goes away to school. She pours herself into French culture, taking cooking classes, learning to speak French with a fairly believable accent, and cooking French dishes for her best friend and her husband. But things don't quite turn out the way she had planned (do they ever?). No one and nothing turn out to be what she dreamed about. France is not quite the exciting, romantic city she expected and her husband turns out to be a huge...well, no spoilers.

The film is narrated by a Frenchman in French with subtitles. But instead of becoming tedious, this format lends itself to the whimsical atmosphere of someone beginning a new journey in her life. The music is delightful as is the star. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a joy to behold as Ellen. So much can be told just by the look on her face. And the audience can't help but pull for her. She is charming and a little naive about her future. So much so that it turns out there are a lot of things that she is not noticing in her life due to her focus on and her upcoming romantic trip to France.

Amazingly for such a short film, there isn't a lot I can tell you without spoiling it. But take it from me, you should spend half an hour and enjoy this film. It will make you laugh and it will make you gasp and then laugh again. It has an amazing twist at the end that will leave you thinking about it for days. If I had a rating system (and I'm trying to figure that out for future reviews), this little gem would get top rating. So go to HBO and check it out.

Thanks for stopping by and getting buzzed! See you back here soon! And just for fun, here is the outtake reel: