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Though "Avenue Montaigne" ("Fauteuils D'orchestre" in France or "Orchestra Seats") is very fairy tale-like, there is actually a very good reason for Jessica's hiring: the restaurant is short of help and the very next night three major events are taking place nearby: a big auction selling off the contents of an entire apartment filled with names like Braque, Brancusi and Modigliani belonging to an art collector played by the legendary Claude Brasseur, a major piano recital featuring virtuoso pianist Jean-François Lefort (Albert Dupontel) and the opening of a Feydeau farce starring TV Soap star, (actress Catherine Versen played by Valérie Lemercier) looking to land a prime Motion Picture about Simone de Beauvoir. Jessica swirls in and out of every one of these stories having a positive effect on all with her sunny sweetness and disarming honesty. There are definitely shades of "Amelie" and "Emma" at work here. "Avenue Montaigne" is as slight and light as a Crepe and de France, Brasseur and Lemercier hit all the right notes, acting-wise which sounds a lot easier than it is as the genre of light comedy is pretty much dead today and these actors are remarkably spot on here.
No one in the world makes this kind of film as well as the French and director Daniele Thompson is definitely up to the task: her film exudes warmth and a charismatic charm that is damn near impossible to resist.
Jessica (Ce'cile De France) is a high-life wanna-be who takes care of her grandmother in a nursing home. The elder reminisces that she took menial labor to enjoy vicariously the high art, food, and fashion of Paris. Emulating her grandmother, Jessica seeks a job at a café where they deliver, but will only break tradition of hiring waiters when they're in a bind. As a vivacious courier and waitress she meets the people who allegedly have fulfilled their dreams.
There's Catherine (Val'erie Lemercier), a prima donna actress who isn't satisfied with the lucrative contracts she's offered. In order to achieve a high level of art, she stumbles over tables and chairs for a chance to court Sydney Pollack (cameo, himself), looking for a lead in his film. (Some of her foot-in-mouth tendencies make for some of the funniest moments.) Jean-Francois Laforte (Albert Dupontel) is a celebrated pianist who has all the amenities and filled concert halls, but his real desire is to enrich the uninitiated. His wife is his manager who can see only the material benefits of her gifted husband. Jacques, an elder art dealer wishes to sell out his collection before interest is lost, but his teacher son, Frederic (Christopher Thompson), is too idealistic. He's divorced and must watch his widower father flaunt his attractive new mistress while discovering the siren is predictably only interested in his father's money. Then, there's an elder woman who, having no musical talent of her own, is a purveyor of others' talents. She relishes the music.Read more ›
Synopsis: Jessica (Cecile de France) leaves her home in the provinces and moves to Paris in the hope of finding a better life. Fortune smiles on her when she lands a job as a waitress in a cafe located in a high rent district frequented by the rich and artistic. As she interacts with the café's patrons their hopes and dreams are revealed. Jessica and the audience eventually discover that the rewards that come with talent and possessions doesn't necessarily bring fulfillment in life.
Critique: Released in '06 the film `Avenue Montaigne' is an undiscovered gem that can be watched over and over again, each time revealing some new and beautiful facet of a profoundly simple but elegant tale. Moving subtly from comedy, to romance, to drama the film shines a light into the heart and soul of its characters revealing not only the persona on the outside but the longing within. The acting is superb, the storyline and dialogue illuminating and the Paris backdrop is absolutely beautiful. Add to that a nostalgic soundtrack that captures the Parisian spirit to perfection and you have a film that you'll never tire of viewing. One of my favorite French films!
My Rating: -5 Stars-.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite foreign films. Wish there were more like it.Published 10 months ago by Aleta M. Irwin
Everything was fine - fine price, fine movie, fine condition, fine customer service, fine delivery - fine fine fine fine fine -
That's why it is five stars review - LOL -... Read more
I love this movie and have seen it many times. Charming actress, sweet story as she interacts with the characters she meets in the bistro where she works, lovely scenery.Published 14 months ago by travel and movie nut
some good characters here. not the greatest movie, but it has its charm.Published 17 months ago by Todd Crawford
Delightful acting, interesting story, and beautiful Parisian streets we have walked. Cecile De France is wonderful here.Published 17 months ago by Ewa J Perkins
wonderful movie with a great storyline. And of course so French, romantic, and endearing. Characters are refreshing and very funny.Published on July 26, 2013 by Jackie Long
Great movie -- my only complaint is that you cannot remove the English subtitles. This might be annoying for others who have some French and don't always want subtitles.Published on June 5, 2013 by moseleym