Actors Alec Baldwin as the husband (left), Diane Lane as the wife (center) and Arnaud Viard (right), the wanna be interloper. Baldwin a cell phone and basket of strawberries in hand restraining himself from pouncing on Viard who desires Lane in this 'Grey Romance.'
Once again we peer into the cinematic mirror to see what we can learn about our relationships and the world we inhabit.
Paris Can Wait, is Eleanor Coppola's scripted and directed debut still playing in Los Angeles, which is no small feat for an independent film rated PG these days. Paris is part of an emerging genre of sleeper hits willing to break the mold in portraying the joys and challenges of mature ardor. The ascent in the descent, the glory and groaning of midlife love is also found in Debra Winger's recent movie Lovers. Love the long way around, is a Pina Colada take on the familiar romcom.
In the ruts of a privileged silver marriage at risk for growing cold, our protagonists, played by the rapturous Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin, could be vulnerable to 'fourth parties.' Lane's character has been faithful through twenty plus years together. From the couple's banter it appears that the Baldwin character has bowed out and committed infidelity.
Lane doesn't question or dig for answers. Baldwin, a distracted high achiever, clearly values and worships her and the life they have built. Affairs are not the only reason for divorce, rather a symptom couples are vulnerable. Rather than turning towards each other, they turn away, making room for 'others.'
A gluttonous travelogue pumped with tired and then revivified chemistry between Alec Baldwin and Diane Lane.
Viewing Films Awakens and Releases Suppressed Desires
Eleanor Coppola, disrupts the dolor, the funk our long married suffering in paradise couple have slid into. Viard, a less successful business associate of Baldwin's, is in full tilt courting mode a la Pepe LePew using flowing conversation, fresh roses, fine dining and wine experiences to tantalize Lane. Eager to share his knowledge and affection for the countryside of Provence between Cannes and Paris, another goal of Viard is to gain comeuppance over Baldwin and bed Lane.
Even if Lane were inclined to cheat on Baldwin, the viewer senses Lane can see through Viard's canard. Sexual tension is rerouted to the cuisine and the physical journey. Epicurean orgies lead Lane and Viard into food comas. Eleanor creates a sensuous over indulged, over the top fantasy that awakens and unlocks curiosity for its viewers. A healthy dose of spontaneity, sparked by extravagance, is needed to break the marrieds from the sucked dry routine of their lives.
Regular release from incipient anxiety, that creeps up only noticed as you are falling apart, can be what you came to unplug from at a movie.
Watching either inspires doing something, or fulfills and releases the obligation to do nothing more and leave well enough alone. Either way, a yearning to release problems from the dreariness of life, and cease complaints requires vision and guts, which is vicarious until its lived. Aspirational, romantic escapism and screwball comedies are the types of cinema Eleanor, age 81, grew up and came of age in.
Why are these pina colada romcoms on fire now? It's no secret that Grey Divorce is a sad outcome for far too many middle age marriages. What are the keys to sustainable relationships? What are the refreshing elements?
Films involving travel are like mini-vacations which may inspire one to travel. Watching films with friends and loved ones, then talking about it afterwards are bonding experiences to help shake off the doldrums of everyday life.
Movies like Paris extol the virtues of inner listening to your vulnerabilities and being bold anyway. Flirting with disaster is risky; opens up the possibilities for a reset and refresh and a second chance to rekindle the longstanding love. This is what Esther Perel, Ph.d., a noted therapist, refers to as affairs -- or their near misses -- that save long term marriages if the work is put into addressing and healing the precipitating problems.
From hot and dusty Los Angeles, thinking about getting away to a subtropical jungle such as Belize, lounging along a rio speaks to me.
A rain shower in the mornings, and easterly breezes to cool down temperatures in the shoulder season, summer into fall. Kicking back in the tropics amidst exotic flowers, a symphony of birds, and river plunges. Donning Teva's and Deet free bug spray joining the frogs and crickets and hiking to swimming holes inspires me to work harder and smarter now at life. Tooling around on the internet I stumble across two Coppola family resorts in Belize. Both look fabulous, the one in the rain forest divine.
Blink and Blancaneaux Lodge could be Vietnam, from the set of a fave book to film adaptation, Josef Conrad's, "Heart of Darkness" remade as Francis Ford Coppola's, "Apocalypse Now," the subject of Eleanor's first documentary which won her an Emmy.
A superb all-inclusive resort, also in Belize where 40 percent of the country is dedicated to national parks, Gaia Riverlodge, a cruise alternative, is also on our radar. Tooling around the internet I also found, Chaa Creek, a wildly civilized place is running great jungle and beach specials in the current shoulder season.
One of 16 private cottages at Gaia Riverlodge, with waterfalls and natural springs practically at your doorstep, is designed to arouse and rekindle passion
As rare fruit growers in Santa Monica, Lewis and I seek out jungles, dense vegetation and exemplary floral experiences supporting pollinators; the workhorses of the garden. Ambitious urban hobby farmers, who reside in the same latitude on the globe as Tuscany, rain forests are one place where we go to recharge rain or shine. We embrace the rains.
Regular unplugging with a film, even if you can't get on the road, for a bit of escapist entertainment may be a good idea especially when you can learn something about yourself or the world.
Disclaimer: Nothing written here should be construed as advice or as a substitute for mental health counseling. If you, or someone you know, is in trouble reaching out to a trusted family member or friend, or a therapist can be helpful. If you -or someone you know - is suicidal or needs help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.
Tara Fass, LMFT #35078, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California. She treats adults and couples dealing with a broad range of issues from navigating the legacy of divorce in one's life, to the quarter life crisis and conscious aging. Together we attempt to make meaning [...]