Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
"A Swallow A Makes Spring?" An Admirable First Feature FilmJune 17 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
OK, OK... So The French title doesn't translate well but the rest of the movie sure enough does!!!
Computer programmer and teacher, Sandrine, played by Mathilde Seigner of "Venus Beauty Institute", a 30 year old Parisienne, decides to leave the city and make her odd, albeit lifelong dream come true-to become a farmer. Adrien, aptly played by a very familiar yet aged Michel Serrault from such films as Diabolique & La Cage Aux Folles I & II is an old and crusty goat farmer who half-heartedly agrees to sell his land before his quickly approaching retirement days. Since Adrien hasn't anywhere to live for the next 12 months, Sandrine agrees to let Adrien stay on in his homestead farmhouse for an extra year.
With her boundless energy, Sandrine takes over the farm and begins implementing her own innovations and city ways. Sandrine succeeds where Adrien was sure she would fail; she earns a good living in the spring and summer by opening up the farm, making a bed and breakfast called " Balconies Of The Sky" out of remodled barns to tourists, elementary school field trips & overnight guests and by selling her goat cheese over the internet.
However, the quickly approaching winter changes tide and time and brings with it very conflicting emotions between the characters of Adrien and Sandrine. Sandrine faces the harsh isolation of the Rhone-Alps, but an odd but growing attachment to the ailing Adrien are unexpected complications. Between curiosity and misunderstandings, Sandrine and Adrien live side by side when the only thing they can truly share without letting each other know their true and genuine feelings for one another, is their intense love for the mountains, God's creatures and the beautiful and harsh Mother Nature.
Nominated for 2 Cesar Awards in France, including Best First Feature Film, The Girl From Paris was a box office smash, grossing over $12 million US dollars. The directorial debut of Christian Carion, the film powerfully evokes the spectacular Rhone Alps, the beauty, simplicity and hardships of farm life, taking chances and dealing with necessary sacrifices, the ever present conflict between city and rural, past and present, and the neverending cycles of nature, death, birth and life.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The real "Simple Life" and a charming one it isJan. 29 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
In a review for "Shower," a wonderful Chinese movie, amazon.com reviewer J. Chin wrote, "We make our lives complicated in hopes that we can concoct contentment within ourselves and in our lives. Then we become dependent on the technology we created and wonder why we feel tired/stressed/rushed all the time. 'Shower' is a movie that made me wonder if seduction works in reverse - if the modern man can be seduced by a 'kinder, more simple' lifestyle."
The reason I reference "Shower" is because "The Girl from Paris" seduces you in much the same way. Sandrine is a young Parisienne making a pretty good living working in the computer field. Despite having, as her mother points out, a good job, a nice apartment, and a man, Sandrine feels stifled and unfulfilled with her job and her life. She decides to give up her technology job and signs up for a 2 year agricultural course. As part of the course, she lives and works on a farm. Little House on the Prairie it's not. One of her first tasks is to help drain the blood from a cow's head after it's been shot. She keeps going nonetheless and after the 2 years, she decides to buy a farm of her own.
Adrien is an old widower who lives alone on his isolated family farm. His only friend and visitor is his old friend Jean. Adrien decides to sell his farm to Sandrine so that he can go live with his nephew in another town, but he wants to stay on the farm for another year before he leaves his lifelong home forever.
If this were a cop show, Adrien would be the archetypal experienced, world-weary partner - as played to perfection by the likes of Dennis Franz and Jerry Orbach - to Sandrine's naive, wide-eyed rookie. (Jean is the comic relief.) In many ways, the relationship between Adrien and Sandrine follows that stereotypical mentor-rookie relationship, but as played by Michel Serrault and Mathilde Seigner it's more familiar and universal than prosaic and stale. Those words only have a subtle difference, and same goes with the movie. "The Girl from Paris" is about the subtleties of life - waking up to fresh air and open space, taking care of living goats instead of machines, and passing on these diminishing but important values to the next generation.
As much as you want to embrace the simpler life, it's not always a simple choice. Even earnest Sandrine begins to doubt her choices during the long, cold, lonely winter on the isolated hilltop. Whether she chooses to stay is for you to discover.
This is not a difficult movie to watch; in fact, it's quite beautiful. The farm they filmed on was perfect, set atop a magisterial hill with breathtaking views of the Rhone Valley. It really is Sandrine's "balcony of the sky." Any Francophile would love this movie, but it has a bucolic charm that appeals to the overworked, overstressed person in all of us, from college students to CEO's. Have a glass of wine and pop in this movie. It's utterly charming and calming. Let yourself be seduced by the French countryside and its offerings. The character of Jean will positively steal your heart and so will this movie.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
At the End of the day . . Goat Cheese!July 29 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
Mathilde Seigner is charming to watch, She has a presence, a substantial yet sensual young woman who shows her mettle in her choice to move to a farm and try to accomplish her dream. I can't imagine this film being made in Hollywood. It has a simplicity, and gets is point across very eloquently.
The goats must be milked twice a day, and whatever else you may want to do, you must be there to take care of the goats. That is probably the metaphor for this film . . . that when you go after your dream, there are lots of demands on your time and on your emotions that you may not have realized when you started your quest. But at the end of the day, you get cheese!
A good, worthwhile movie.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Delightful Charming Film, Just the Right Balance of RealityNov. 13 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
French films always intrigue me for many reasons but mostly because they are so ... very French! They do not shy away from expressing, exploring deeply felt emotions caused by subterranean undercurrents of unresolved conflicts. These are associated with past events or experiences that shade the main theme or plot providing with a wholly new perspective where there is a revelation, an "ah ha" moment by the end of the film. Also, the characters typically have vibrant and dynamic personalities. As in this film, the viewer is captivated by the people and situations. One becomes a friend and participant, a confidante personally connected with the plots and intrigues. This film is a pleasure to view both from an aesthetic and artistic perspective, first there is the spectacular scenery of the the Rhone Mountains (Vercors) and valleys, the French Alps that unfold before one's eyes but also there is a satisfying story which gradually grows to reveal what is truly present in the human heart.
The viewer is introduced to Sandrine Dumez, a computer instructor who is tired of the pressures of the business world. She needs space and air. She wants to return to a more natural way of life and has enrolled in a school of agriculture and animal husbandry with plans to own and operate a farm. There is a very realistic discussion between mother and daughter which transforms into a conflict when Sandrine drops this 'bomb' on her mother. Another great scene is where the agricultural professor states, if you think you can play the guitar and run a farm, you had better enroll in another school. He makes it clear, farming is hard work and no place for dreamers ...
The head of the agricultural school takes Sandrine to a farm in the Rhone, where an elderly farmer is selling his property, animals and buildings but due to his irascible nature, has had difficulty with students from the school in the past. Michel Serreault plays Adrienn Rochas, the elderly eccentric farmer, whose wife had died 10 years before. He had experienced many long harsh winters in the region and overcome many disasters and personal tragedies all of which are associated with the land and the region. They come to a decision and agree on a selling price, Adrienn will continue to live in the house for another year and half and will retain the orchards as his own. Sandrine proves she is knowledgable by asking the right questions, such as how many gallons of goat milk or yield is there for 70 goats and what is the income from an operations standpoint. Adrienn had dismissed a previous potential buyer when he referred to himself as an "Operations Manager". He derisively commented, 'everyone wants to be a manager, no one wants to work anymore.'
Adrienn has an elderly farmer friend, Jean Farjon who often visits, along with is dog. There are many amusing scenes in which these two old pals discuss Sandrine both her physical attractiveness, along with her farming skills. They debate the liklihood of her succeeding at this huge endeavor, a female alone in the Rhone Mountains, running a farm. To everyone's surprise: Sandrine renovates one of the farm buildings, making it into a hotel which she calls "Balconies of the Sky". She sells her goat cheese on the internet and provides tours to groups of young children who arrive via school bus ...
Unexpectedly, Adrienn is hospitalized in nearby Grenoble with heart disease. To his disappointment, Sandrine does not visit him in the hospital. Adrienn's initial misgivings about Sandrine and her abilities are giving way to a reluctant admiration for her talents and success. When her boyfriend from Pais visits and stays overnight, Adrienn becomes jealous. There are some terrific intrigues and plots which Adrienn hatches to force Sandrine to seek his help and depend on him. Their relationship takes a new turn as they share personal information which strengthens their bonds of friendship. Something occurs which nearly severs these newly forged links of closeness ... Severine takes a break from farming and returns to Paris. There she rethinks her decision to run the farm alone ... When she returns to the farm in the Vercors Mountains, her love of the land and her respect and friendship with Adrienn is renewed but on a deeper more complex, tested level. An unexpected but very real life event which touches both of them personally, makes them see their differences in a new light. It helps them reconnect and strengthens their bonds of friendship and respect taking it to a more heart-felt level. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Warm Touching Story of Dreams and RealitiesNov. 4 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
'Une hirondelle a fait le printemps' ('The Girl form Paris') weaves its French spell in the manner of the great French filmmakers, and yet this 2001 film was the debut of the man - Christian Carion - who later gave us the tremendously well-done 'Joyeux Noël' in 2005. This story (written by both Carion and Eric Assous) is unique, a study of human desires, needs, and compromises that is more human in feeling than most any other film this reviewer has seen.
Sandrine Dumez (Mathilde Seigner) lives in Paris where she slaves away at teaching computer science to students in tune with the age. She is attractive, successful, popular...and unhappy. She longs to fulfill the dreams of her childhood and become a farmer. Much against her doting mother's advice she enrolls in a school for agriculture and eventually graduates as one of the top students, winning the ability to buy a farm in the Rhone Alps. The snag: the elderly crusty owner Adrien (Michel Serrault), who wants to sell his farm yet maintain his idyllic country existence without the wear and tear of farming, refuses to move off his own property once the contract is signed for Sandrine to take over the land. Sandrine allows Adrien to stay, makes the farm not only succeed despite her novice status, but also adds a hotel ('The Balcony of the Sky') to enhance her income from her goat farm whose chief product is cheese. Encouraging the transition is the jovial neighbor Jean (Jean-Paul Roussillon) whose recent selling of his own farm allows him to travel around in his new Volvo with his trusty (and hilarious) dog Pharaoh. Jean warns Sandrine that when winter come Adrien will become a recluse (remembering the loss of his wife, the Nazi decimation of the French farms, his losses from mad cow disease in the past, etc), yet Sandrine persists - until the winter comes and all but defeats her optimism. Events bond Adrien and Sandrine more closely, so much so that when Sandrine returns to Paris for a much-needed breather - and liaison with her ex-boyfriend Gérard (Frédéric Pierrot) - Adrien discovers how important to him Sandrine has become. The ending is tied into a surprise that touchingly resolves many doubts and questions and allows the viewer to finish the story on his own!
The cast is superb, with special kudos to Michel Serrault, a consummate actor. The cinematography of the glorious farm location is by Antoine Héberlé and the very French musical score is by Philippe Rombi. The film is a delight in every aspect and one that deserves repeated viewings. Grady Harp, November 06