In a snowy province of Canada, Fiona (Fiona Gordon, who also co-directs the film with her husband Dominique Abel) works as a librarian against a backdrop of terrible weather and little excitement. A red-haired, middle-aged quirky woman, Fiona soon receives a letter from Martha (Emmanuelle Riva), her 88-year-old aunt who lives in Paris. After she asks Fiona for some help, the librarian soon embarks on an adventure to go to her aid. With a backpack that is almost as big as she is, the bookish and guileless Fiona soon finds herself Lost in Paris.
Through a series of mishaps, Fiona soon loses her luggage, which is quickly found by Dom (Abel), a homeless, odd character who seems to be content riding through life on simple pleasures. Dom and Fiona meet each other at a riverboat restaurant and end up having a dance that charms Fiona into falling for Dom. However, as romantic comedies would have it, there is a lot more to Dom than Fiona sees and soon her affections turn to resentment. But, you guessed it, this is only the beginning of the relationship as feelings between the two are bound to ensue and grow stronger.
There is a delightful visual narrative to Lost in Paris reminiscent of Amélie or, to a smaller extent, even some of the work by director Michel Gondry. The film uses expressive color, but although aesthetic elements of this film are gorgeous, the entire film does not present an alternative visual narrative. It is a wonderfully pleasing, if light, comedy that rests mostly on physical comedy and the nonsense that sometimes defines life. This is not a mind-bending film, but one that is entertaining and dynamic enough to keep your attention. I would even suggest it as a nice date night rom-com.
With many orchestrated coincidences, Lost in Paris at times feels like a “Seinfeld” episode, albeit with a cuter mise-én-scene and beautiful art direction. The colorful landscape, along with even more colorful characters does not skimp on silliness in a fun way. For instance, Fiona is made to be a completely absent-minded librarian with a kind heart and a knack for getting into little accidents. On the other hand, Dom seems to be inhabiting a different plane; he’s eccentric and self-centered, with a touch of delusion. Although the comedy in this film can be delightful and a bit slapstick, Lost in Paris could have been more impactful as a short film rather than a full-length feature. The use of coincidences and reliance on quirkiness for quick laughs grew tiresome before the film was over.
Lost in Paris runs 84 minutes long, is in English and French with English subtitles and English. It is not rated, but its safe for general audiences. Its South Florida premiere is Friday, July 14, and will be playing at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, Bill Cosford Cinema, Savor Cinema-Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood. In the Washington area, it will be playing at the Bethesda Row cinema. A screener link was provided by Oscilloscope Films for the purposes of this review.