One: Le Divorce
Le Divorce was released in 2003 based on Diane Johnson’s book under the same title. Isabel travels to Paris to visit her sister Roxy who is pregnant and alone with her daughter Gennie. Her husband Charles-Henri abandons Roxy for his Russian mistress Magda who is married to an American man Tellman who constantly harass the two sisters around Paris. What I love about this movie is the pace and characters, Naomi and Kate as sisters, the affairs, traditions and relationships in France, the spoken language, the red Kelly bag, Roxy’s reciting poetry, the scarfs, Isabel’s tisane and French haircut, and let’s not forget the lingerie, Georges de La Tour’s Saint Ursula, the whole feel of the movie.
Two: Salt on Our Skin
Salt on Our Skin was released in 1992 based on Benoîte Groult’s novel Les vaisseaux du coeur. This movie makes me feel anguish, breathless agony and so much love. It’s a story about a woman called George who is half French half Scottish, she lives in France and visits Scotland with her family every now-and-then. When she was around 18 she and her sister head to Scotland and she meets Gavin McCall a brutish fisherman and the strong reaction they feel to each other lasts for 30 years. As much as George loves Gavin she keeps feeling like he isn’t the one, that he is not like her, educated and sophisticated. As the years pass by and they get married, have children and live their lives, she discovers too late that Gavin was unhappy with his life, that he wanted to live differently with her always, but the realization comes too late and he dies. A heart-wrenching movie, but so beautiful and passionate.
Three: Ever After: A Cinderella Story
Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t care how old I am, I will never be too old for fairy-tales. I love fairy-tales retold and I love Cinderella. But that’s another story all together (for another post!). Ever After: A Cinderella Story is a 1998 film inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella, the supernatural elements are removed and the story is instead treated as historical fiction, set in Renaissance-era France without the magic! Danielle de Barbarac is the heroine of the story, she is fearless, strong, happy and loyal, she happens to be beautiful and so much fun, with a trunk filled with beautiful clothes and glass slippers! Prince Henry makes her lose her balance and hope for more, for a different life and a better one where she could fly; and here comes the part of Leonardo da Vinci who will make her beautiful wings but nonetheless breakable. I love the story, fashion of the era, the complicated feelings you’ll have afterward, I no longer can look at Cinderella in the same way afterward. I love Thomas More’s Utopia, I love the “just-breathe” part and the ending of which she saves herself. I always end up crying and laughing watching this movie.
Chocolat was released in 2000, it’s based on the novel of the same name by Joanne Harris. Chocolat tells the story of a young mother Vianne Roche, played by Juliette Binoche (I love her), who arrives at the fictional, repressed French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes with her six-year-old daughter Anouk and opens La Chocolaterie Maya, a small chocolaterie. Her chocolate quickly begins to change the lives of the townspeople; as it ought to be, I think. I’m a fan of chocolate, so I don’t think you can eat it without being changed. I love the magical realism aspect of the movie, the soundtrack is divine, as well as the gypsy Roux played by Johnny Depp, I love that chocolate is cooked with everything in the movie, the red shoes, the way the story is told, the family problems solved in the Chocolaterie, the way Vianne understand everyone’s heart but her daughter’s and sometimes her own.
Sabrina is a 1995 romantic film, It is a remake of the Sabrina (1954 film) starring Audrey Hepburn. Julia Ormond stars as Sabrina in this adaptation. I love this movie though Linus is too cold for my taste. I love that Paris reveals the real Sabrina and makes her bloom. I love the parties, the longing, I love that Linus saw her always not just when she bloomed. Julia Ormond is magical, feminine and very beautiful with a melodic voice.
Six: Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris is 2011 time-traveling movie set in Paris. I love this movie because I love writing, and when I was younger I always felt like the world was running way too fast and I kept wishing I was born in another time. When I grew older I was thankful to God that I was born in this time, nostalgia for the past is a human nature for some souls but I would have died from illness for sure or suffocated by corsets at the least! It’s a beautiful Woody Allen movie, perhaps his best.
Seven: Julie & Julia
Julie & Julia is a 2009 film written and directed by Nora Ephron starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.The film contrasts the life of chef Julia Child in the early years of her culinary career with the life of young New Yorker Julie Powell, who aspires to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in 365 days, a challenge she described on her popular blog that would make her a published author. Ephron’s screenplay is adapted from two books: My Life in France, Child’s autobiography written with Alex Prud’homme, and a memoir by Powell documenting online her daily experiences cooking each of the 524 recipes in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she later began reworking that blog, The Julie/Julia Project.
I read Julie Powell’s book and blog but didn’t like her much, I preferred the movie, Amy Adams is charming, funny and very beautiful, she made me relate to this movie deeply. One of my favorite. I loved the relationship between Julia Child and her husband, the way she loves food and insist on learning it, the way she loved everything French and how she adapted what she loved to teach millions.
Eight: The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada is a 2006 film based on Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel of the same name. This screen adaptation stars Anne Hathaway as Andrea Sachs, a college graduate who goes to New York City and lands a job as a co-assistant to powerful fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep. This happens to be my mom’s favorite movie, she loves how Miranda Priestly acts, we both love the fashion, Paris, Emily and Nigel (“Size 6!”) and the yummy Christian Thompson!
LOL is a 2012 film and it’s a remake of the 2008 French film LOL (Laughing Out Loud). It stars Miley Cyrus, Demi Moore, and Douglas Booth. I love this movie, I know I’m no teen but this film is adorable, I wasn’t a Miley Cyrus fan but after watching this film I changed my mind, the girl’s got potential! I adore the guy playing Kyle, he is so cute and so talented. I love the stories between families and friends, how each character is different, I loved the soundtrack and the shooting in Paris. American Tourister travel luggage ad reminds me of the movie. This movie set my teen heart on fire!
Ten: Now You See Me
Now You See Me is a 2013 film. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Common, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. If I dare say, it’s one of the best movies of 2013. I loved the magic aspect, with the Illuminati ideology, it was interesting to see a cult always in the dark look people in the eye and say: “Now you see me!” explaining some of the rules and benefits of being a part of it. It was interesting.
It was a really good movie, I made my whole family watch it, they didn’t like it as much as I did, but what the hell, I’ve always had something extra anyway.
Eleven: Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette is a 2006 film, written and directed by Sofia Coppola. It is based on the life of the Queen Marie Antoinette in the years leading up to the French Revolution. Since I learned about Marie Antoinette at school and heard my mom tell her stories hundred of times I became obsessed. I loved her story, everything to do with her and Sofia Coppola, Kirsten Dunst ( I LOVE her!) and the whole team did a great job capturing the Rococo era with all that was happening in her world not outside the walls of Versailles. I always wish to own her masquerade ball costume… it’s to die for!
Twelve: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a German 2006 film directed by Tom Tykwer, written by Andrew Birkin, Bernd Eichinger and Tykwer and starring Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Dustin Hoffman. It is based on the 1985 novel Perfume by Patrick Süskind. Set in 18th century France, the film tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Whishaw), an olfactory genius, and his homicidal quest for the perfect scent.
I remember watching this film with my mother, it freaked us out, it was fascinating and grotesque! I recommend it for the lovers of thriller and people who have strong sense of smell. Paris is scary in that movie. Fair warning!
Thirteen: French Kiss
French Kiss is a 1995 film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. The film is about a woman who flies to France to confront her straying fiancé and gets into trouble when the charming crook seated next to her uses her to smuggle a stolen diamond necklace. I adore Meg Ryan in that movie, she was funny and hilarious, I felt really sorry for her, first she is impossibly afraid of flying, she likes routine and after she forced herself to follow her heart, she gets in so much trouble that France seems like a nightmare to her. Adorable movie!
Fourteen: Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo is a 2011 film directed by Thomas Bezucha. Monte Carlo stars Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy as three friends posing as wealthy socialites in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Monte Carlo is on my wish list for places to visit before I die! I adore this movie, it’s so cheesy and classical in the best of ways, it has an old feeling to it, I love the girls trip from Paris to Monte Carlo, and how wealth changes everything. It would be so much fun to live a trip like this one, as if in a dream. Each girl has her story and drama, and of course love, my favorite is Meg’s.
Amélie (French: Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain) is a 2001 film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, the film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre.
It tells the story of a shy waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation. I love the colors of the film, the bright red and green, the way it’s told and of course I adore Audrey Tautou, I think I’ve watched all her movies.
Ratatouille is a 2007 film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The title refers to a French dish, “ratatouille”, which is served at the end of the film, and is also a play on words about the species of the main character. The film stars the voices of Patton Oswalt as Remy, an anthropomorphic rat who is interested in cooking; Lou Romano as Linguini, a young garbage boy who befriends Remy; Ian Holm as Skinner, the head chef of Auguste Gusteau’s restaurant; Janeane Garofalo as Colette, a rôtisseur at Gusteau’s restaurant; Peter O’Toole as Anton Ego, a restaurant critic; Brian Dennehy as Django, Remy’s father and leader of his clan; Peter Sohn as Emile, Remy’s older brother; and Brad Garrett as Auguste Gusteau, a recently deceased chef. The plot follows Remy, who dreams of becoming a chef and tries to achieve his goal by forming an alliance with a Parisian restaurant’s garbage boy.
Though most of the Walt Disney movies are set in Paris such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, I decided to put Ratatouille in this list, and the other in a another list all together.
Seventeen: The Phantom Of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera is a 2004 British film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical of the same name, which in turn is based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux. Directed by Joel Schumacher, the film was also produced and co-written by Lloyd Webber. The Phantom of the Opera stars Gerard Butler in the title role, Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé, as well as Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry, and Minnie Driver as Carlotta Giudicelli.
I always loved a good Gothic story, but I think I realized how much I love Gothic stories from this movie, and with this movie my crush on Gerard Butler began! I think he’s the modern Clark Gable! The phantom of the opera is here inside my mind!
Eighteen: Moulin Rouge!
Moulin Rouge! is a 2001 Australian–American romantic musical film directed, produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann. It tells the story of a young English poet/writer, Christian (Ewan McGregor), who falls in love with the terminally-ill star of the Moulin Rouge, cabaret actress and courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman). It uses the musical setting of the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France.
This movie is one of the best musicals ever! I love Baz Luhrmann’s movies, he take cares of costumes, actors, performance, and the feeling of magic for 2 hours! The soundtrack is phenomenal, and Satine was gorgeous even in the last scene.
Nineteen: Love in the Afternoon
Love in the Afternoon is a 1957 film produced and directed by Billy Wilder which stars Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper. The screenplay is based on the Claude Anet novel Ariane, jeune fille russe (trans., Ariane, Young Russian Girl).
This was my first Audrey Hepburn’s movie and I fell in love, I remember being so young maybe 11 and I told my mother if I ever become a mom I’m going to name my daughter either Ariane or Audrey. She told me to review my decision till I grow up and fall in love.
Paris in this film is attached with these two songs in my mind: “Moon River” and “La Vie En Rose”.
Twenty: The Hundred-Foot Journey
The Hundred-Foot Journey is an upcoming film that will be released on August 8, 2014. The film is based on a novel The Hundred-Foot Journey written by Richard C. Morais. It stars Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Juhi Chawla and Om Puri.
I disliked the book strongly but I LOVED the movie that I actually watched it two times in a row. It is warm, loving, tells a great story about family and forming ties, about india and french food, falling in love and most importantly where we belong.
Twenty-One: An Education
The first time I watched An Education, I told my mother: “You must watch this movie, you’re going to love it.”; and she did. No surprise there, the story is romantic, smart, touching and very entertaining. No matter how many times I watch it I still love it. This is kind of a teenage girl’s dream to fall in love and life an adventure.
Twenty-Two: Yves Saint Laurent
As a fashionista and fashion appreciate this movie should be added to your list, Yves Saint Laurent is a history maker, his perfumes and makeup is among my favorites, I LOVE Opium, though it’s thick and heavy. Amazing movie and story, it’s interesting to see how an icon is made.
Twenty-Three: Before Sunset
If I told you I just recently watched this trilogy what would you say? I enjoyed their poeticness, it’s modern romance and missed encounters and opportunities; heart wrenching but beautiful.
Twenty-Four: The Intouchables
I watched this movie with mom, she insisted it’s amazing, so I sat down and watched, and guess what? It’s really good, and human… really. It makes you question what makes you happy, it certainly isn’t money, it’s love and health.
Twenty-Five: Two Days in Paris
Do you want to laugh? You MUST watch this movie and it’s sequel, I cried from laughter! I laughed so hard my whole family left what they were doing and watched the two movies with me.
Twenty-Six: The Da Vinci Code
The first time I watched this movie I disliked it strongly, a couple of years later I watched it on TV and loved it immensely, Dan Brown’s series of books and movie are now kind of my guilty pleasure, I love this series, it filled with action, thriller, mystery and signs… I love symbology.