Sunday, February 18, 2007


ORCHESTRA SEATS is on-paper a pretty mediocre romantic-drama/comedy written and directed by Danièle Thompson. But is has a low-key charm and optimism that I find hard to resist.

Technically this is very workman-like project: there won't be any prizes for camera-work or editing. In fact, they are downright poor. Similarly, the plot is full of incredible coincidences and the whole movie is an extended meet-cute.

Essentially, we have three people who have achieved, but are to some extent dissatisfied with, worldly success. All three have a big night taking place around a local Paris brasserie. Valérie Lemercier plays Catherine Versen - a foul-mouthed but hysterically funny daytime TV star, opening in a theatre production and desperately wanting a serious film break from an American producer played by Sydney Pollack. Albert Dupontel plays Jean-François Lefort, a celebrated concert pianist who is desperate to get out of the concert circuit and begin a more humble life. He is petrified that his wife, Valentine (Laura Morante) won't make the move with him. Meanwhile, Claude Brasseur plays the old widower, Jacques Grumberg. On the same night as Catherine's theatre opening and Jean-François' concert, Jacques is auctioning off the art-collection he spent years amassing with his wife. Jacques is also dating a younger woman (Annelise Hesme, best known to Brits as the girl in the Renault ads), much to his son, Fred's, chagrin.

What unites these people is their patronage of the local cafe, where a young girl from the country is a waitress. Jessica (Cécile de France) has a naive innocence that brings out the best in all concerned and forces the requisite happy ending, not least for Fred (the not unattractive Christopher Thompson.)

As I said, a lot of the plotting of this movie is pretty hokey but as a nice meditation on life and love it has a quiet charm that is exactly opposite to the forced sentimentality of most Hollywood romantic-comedies. This isn't a movie to seek-out, but if you're looking for a less crass date movie, it'll fit the bill.

ORCHESTRA SEATS opened in France, Belgium, Israel, italy, Greece, Germany, Canada and Brazil in 2006. It opened in the US last Friday and opens in the UK next Friday. I topens in Argentina on March 29th and in Australia on April 12th.

No comments:

Post a Comment