aka AVENUE MONTAIGNE (USA) aka FAUTEUILS D’ORCHESTRE
Movie Review by Neil Sadler
Starring: Cecile de France, Valerie Lemercier, Albert Dupontel, Laura Morante
Director: Daniele Thompson
Some films are typically English. Whether it be the period dramas of Merchant Ivory, the gritty urban dramas of Ken Loach or the light comedy of Richard Curtis – they have the sense that they could only be written and directed in this fair isle.
ORCHESTRA SEATS, a slight ensemble drama from director Daniele Thompson has a sense that it could only have come from France. It arrives with much adulation from its own country and talks of Oscar nominations (it didn’t get one.)
The story of an innocent from the country, raised by her grandmother on stories of the wonder of Paris, who comes to Paris herself and touches the lives of all she meets – thanks to her innocence and honesty.
The people she meets, a film director, a soap actress, a writer and a businessman/art collector represent every stereotype in the narrow spectrum of artist intellectuals and although well acted and well told – the film struggles to rise above a sense of deja vu.
As the central character Jessica, Cecile De France has a great deal of charm but she lacks the quirky charm of depth of Audrey Tatou or Juliette Binoche. The other characters feel as if they have wandered in from other films or more appropriately soap operas.
With so many great world movies and directors really stretching the boundaries of what is considered world cinema, ORCHESTRA SEATS plays like an old and very familiar tune.