They don't get much quirkier than short film ‘Picture Paris” on HBO.
Just a half-hour in length, this whirlwind of sights and emotion will take you from the USA to France, with a bit of vengeful fantasy thrown in for good measure.Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Ellen, a middle-aged mom who is losing her her son to college and her husband without consciously realizing it.
The short was written and directed by her real-life husband Brad Hall in what I can only describe as frantic melancholia with a bittersweet wedge thrown in for good measure.
There are few major plot twists that I cannot divulge "Picture Paris" airing tonight at 9 on HBO.
Suffice to say you will be shocked and wondering if there's more to the story when it ends.
Louis-Dreyfus plays Ellen, a mother with an obsession for all things French and for Paris. She is learning the language, the cuisine and flirting non-stop in her quest for a life reboot, with a trip planned with her not-as-enthused husband to the belle pays de France.
Olivia (Rachael Harris) is Ellen’s best friend who cheers her incessant Francophilia on.
Ellen's husband Randy (D.W. Moffett) is not amused by his wife's love affair with France. Events occur that have our Ellen leaving for Paris solo.
Her deep pockets allow her to live unstructured (no job, affluent life) in a luxury Parisian flat. Waiter Marcel (Gregory Fitoussi) enters her life but not as you imagine. The Social media reconnection gambit is broached as Ellen reconnects with an old flame.
Reinvention becomes moments of deep regret and chagrin.
This is a visually sumptuous feat, as Paris is a stunning perfectly lit backdrop. The DP gives it loving, lensed moments. The bottom line: Glorified Paris tropes and happiness reside in your heart and mind, less of the actual locale.
Louis-Dreyfus is quite a wonderful as Ellen, and I hope to see her take more chances outside of her normal acting path like this effort.
The art of the succinct short film hopefully will be resurrected for more networks too. Say what you will about this effort, you will remember it.