movie review: Avenue Montaigne, Paste, 2007
Director: Danièle Thompson
Writers: Danièle Thompson, Christopher Thompson
Cinematographer: Jean-Marc Fabre
Starring: Cècile de France, Valèrie Lemercier, Claude Brasseur, Albert Dupontel, Laura Morante, Sydney Pollack, Christopher Thompson, Claude Dani
Studio Info: ThinkFilm, 106 mins.
There’s a café on Paris’ posh Avenue Montaigne that’s modest prices and reliable fare make it a beacon of comfort, drawing all kinds of people, from a classical pianist who longs to escape his black-tie world to a soap-opera actress (a hilarious Valérie Lemercier) desperate for credibility (Sydney Pollack plays the director she tries to impress) to a country-bred gamine who takes a waitressing job in search of big-city adventure. They’re all struggling with fame and success—trying to break free from it, to get more of it, to taste it. Naturally, their paths crisscross and realizations abound. The surprise comes in the warmth of the performances (especially the aging theater usher who lives in a colorful flat plastered with pop-music posters and sings along to her Discman when she’s alone). Director Danièle Thompson (La Bûche) clearly adores her characters, and the result is a lively comedy with lots of heart.