Movie Review - Farm living
The Girl From Paris gets off to a shaky start, initially suggesting a Frenchified “Green Acres.” Sandrine (Mathilde Seigner) is a Parisian fed up with her computer job, who announces to her shocked mother that she is going to chuck her unfulfilling life to become a farmer. Before you can say “goodbye city life,” she is milking goats and pitching hay in the lovely, remote Rhone-Alps.
The film starts out like an odd clash of documentary realism (a scene of pig slaughter is especially horrifying) mixed with the cutesy-fied variety of Euro exports a la Chocolat. The Girl From Paris’ superficial premise takes a turn for the obvious when Sandrine’s newfangled city ways clash with the stick-in-the-mud traditionalism of the crusty, old-school farmer Adrien (Michel Serrault) whose goat farm she buys. Representing new-style farming techniques, Sandrine invites groups of school children and clean-air-craving urbanites to the farm for a dose of country living and sells her goat cheese on the Internet. Meanwhile Adrien lives by an earth-centered code, in which the laws of nature are respected and the seasons — not human demand — set the time schedule.
But The Girl From Paris soon stretches beyond the boundaries of this generation gap.
First-time director Christian Carion’s film eventually ripens into an unexpectedly tender rumination on the growing bond between Sandrine and Adrien. Adrien’s loneliness for his dead wife is partly alleviated by the young woman’s presence, while Sandrine’s blissful connection to nature is soon tested by her first winter. In The Girl From Paris, Carion asserts that farm life is not all green meadows and sunshine. As the romanticized vision of quaint farm life melts away, The Girl From Paris eventually proves more meaningful and far more subtle than it first appears. Now playing at Madstone Parkside Theaters.