I doubt that anyone will ever match the balanced stridency and sentimentality that Jonathan Richman’s song “Give Paris One More Chance” manages as a bursting, corny catalog of everything right about “the home of Piaf and Chevalier,” but Avenue Montaigne takes a crack. The film’s helmed by Daniele Thompson, a relative latecomer to direction but a professional screenwriter since 1966, with a resume that covers all of subsequent popular French cinema. I mean popular, not acclaimed: she had a hand in the eighties teen romp La Boum, the generational impact of which in France was at the seismic level of John Hughes—if you think, based on the art-house stuff that makes it stateside, that the average French moviegoer is a creature of immaculate, elevated taste, think again. Having worked at a video store, I can testify that La Boum still out-rents Claire Denis films by a 1000:1 margin among Francophones.
Click here to read the rest of Nick Pinkerton’s review of Avenue Montaigne.