Lost in Paris is one of those films that is a nice breath of fresh air. It is quirky, funny, and heartwarming. The movie has a lovingly naive perception of the world while still tastefully balancing mature themes. It also has a colorful cast of characters that contribute to the film’s overall charm.
The movie is about Fiona, a woman living in rural Canada, who receives a letter from an aunt who lives in Paris. The letter requests that the niece visits the aunt because she is being forced to move into a nursing home. Fiona then travels to Paris to tend to her aunt but craziness commences as soon she arrives.
The main characters are Fiona, her aunt Martha, and a homeless man that becomes intertwined in her adventure named Dom. While the story has a very simple premise, the actual narrative has impressive levels of complexity. The story is the classic comedy of errors where there are constant twists, turns, and mistakes that befall the characters.
The actors are like an assembly of classic figures of other films. The two lead roles are played by the directors and they even retain their actual names. Fiona has a naive outlook due to her sheltered life and approaches Paris in a child-like way. Like so many other whimsical films, the character approaches her foreign surroundings with wonder and so becomes an avatar for the audience. Through Fiona’s eyes, we are able to grasp the beauty and majesty of Paris and through her actions, the film progresses in a humorous way. She is incompetent and foolish so this leads to her needing constant assistance for her perpetual missteps. Her actions connect her to the next main character, Dom, who acts as her foil and love interest.
Dom is crafty and knows Paris well so he is able to help Fiona but most of the time he is just making things worse. He is very reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” character because he is a transient who gets into hilarious situations that would have normally been out of his social class. One funny instance is when he volunteers to give a eulogy and it gradually becomes very offensive.
Aunt Martha is charming as well even though she does not get as much screen time. Every moment with her is sweet or funny and some of the most memorable scenes are hers. There is a dancing scene with her and an old associate of hers that is done in a unique way.
The performances themselves are solid all around. The chemistry between the leads is obvious and makes sense since they have made plenty of movies together and are married in real life. The excellent chemistry between them and Aunt Martha should also be noted even though there are not many scenes. Although, the ones that are there are genuinely sweet.
The actual filmmaking of Lost in Paris is an obvious ode to classic silent films. While all movies are a compilation of scenes, this film really presents itself as such. There are many moments that are framed in that traditional wide shot to emphasize the humor of the situation. There is a scene with a ladder scene that is hilarious and an ode to Buster Keaton. Almost every other scene is spent to make sure that there are beauty shots of Paris. The cinematography is gorgeous and truly romanticizes the city.
The biggest complaint to be made is the music. The overall score is fine but there are some moments when there is pop music used and it is just off-putting. At times it is fun to use songs that literally describe a scene but other times it can be obnoxious. There is a moment when Fiona is on a boat having been under water for a time and the song that is used is eye-rolling.
Fiona and Dom have directed and starred in many films and this one is a wonderful addition. Their love for each other and the city shines through to the benefit of the audience. For anyone who wants to be in a good mood or wants a reason to visit Paris then I cannot recommend this film enough.