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Avenue Montaigne

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

AVENUE MONTAIGNE centers around Jessica (Cecile de France) a beautiful young woman from the provinces who comes to Paris and lands a job waiting tables at a chic bistro on fabled Avenue Montaigne, the city's nexus for art, music, theater and fashion. Jessica's customers include a popular TV actress (Valerie Lemercier) who is courting a major Hollywood director (Sydney Pollack) for her first serious film role; a wealthy art collector (Claude Brasseur) who is about to liquidate a lifetime's worth of treasures at auction; and an illustrious classical pianist (Albert Dupontel) who is at odds with his manager/wife (Laura Morante) as to where his career is headed. Precisely because Jessica doesn't know how celebrated these people are, her guileless and completely unintimidated engagement in their lives has a transforming effect on them - and ultimately her.

French for "Orchestra Seats," Avenue Montaigne offers an outsider's perspective on an insular world (the original title is Fauteuils d'Orchestre). After bidding adieu to her grandmother (Suzanne Flon in her final performance), sunny Jessica (Cécile De France, L'Auberge Espagnole) moves from Mâcon to Paris. Upon securing a job as a waitress in a popular café, she meets high-strung soap star Catherine (Valérie Lemercier), burnt-out pianist Jean-François (Albert Dupontel), and secretive art collector Jacques (Claude Brasseur), who comes equipped with a pretty girlfriend and a handsome son (Christopher Thompson). Though the tousled Jessica has little in common with these posh Parisians, she affects each of their lives in ways both big and small. Directed by Danièle Thompson (La Bûche) and co-written with her son, Christopher, Avenue Montaigne serves as the flipside to French phenomenon When the Cat's Away, in which a young woman meets the people in her neighborhood while searching for an errant feline. In this case, the surroundings are more upscale, but the residents are just as susceptible to fear and insecurity. Though the idea of a sympathetic look at the upper class will surely strike some as off-putting, Thompson makes it work. The genuine affection she feels for her characters--privileged and underprivileged alike--and the grace with which she keeps several plot strands going at once proves that the spirit of Robert Altman lives on in the most unlikely of places. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Making of
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Albert Dupontel, Annelise Hesme, Cecile De France, Christopher Thompson, Laura Morante
  • Directors: Daniele Thompson
  • Writers: Christopher Thompson, Danièle Thompson
  • Producers: Christine Gozlan
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Image/Thinkfilms
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2006
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000O76TUO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,315 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Avenue Montaigne" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Jessica (gamin-like Cecile de France from "The Spanish Apartment) arrives in Paris without a sou in her pocket but within minutes nabs a prime waitress job in a smart, stylish, up to this point type of café that only hires men as waiters, Restaurant on the Avenue Montaigne, close to the Champs Elysee' with the Eiffel Tower looming nearby.
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.
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Format: DVD
(3 1/2 *'s) `Avenue Montaigne' operates on the premise that all Parisians seek the good life. Offering a cross-section of the French dream, the film digs deeper with a "can't buy me happiness" theme stretching through intersecting lives.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Note: French with English subtitles.

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-.
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By Ron on July 19, 2007
Format: DVD
If you're looking for serious drama then you're in the wrong place. I would describe AVENUE MONTAIGNE as a "fun" movie. In many ways it reminded me of THE SPANISH APARTMENT (or L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE): both consisted of a bunch of colorful characters, who are trying to find their way in this crazy world of ours. It should be no surprise that Cecile France was in both films. She has a way of connecting with other actors on screen. She was a delight. Other notable actors in AVENUE were the "soap" actress, the pianist and the auctioner's son. If you just want to see a movie for just strictly entertainment value, then I highly recommend AVENUE MONTAIGNE.
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