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Soundtrack review: Paris can wait (Laura Karpman – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Paris can wait (Laura Karpman – 2017)

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“Paris Can Wait” is a 2016 comedy film directed, written and co-produced by Eleanor Coppola. The film tells about the journey of wife of a successful and extremely busy producer along with a fellow traveler, during which a romantic relationship begins between them. It stars Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin and Arnaud Viard, and is Coppola’s first time directing a narrative drama film, as all her previous directorial efforts had been documentaries. Laura Karpman wrote the score.

A romantic movie set in Paris now this give me a few clear ideas about how the music should sound and for sure the quirky opening title theme which is a mix of piano, vocals, radio quotes, horns and a dash of the one instrument I am expecting to find in the French setting, the accordion is not it; it’s a strange and mixed start to the score but the accordion and the female vocalisations are enough to set the Paris tone of the score; my worries are set at ease right from the next cue “La Croisette” which is the most delightful Parisian romantic vacation sound I could hear with the harmonica and percussion and the subtle flute; after over 30 years of watching countless movies set on the French Riviera or in Paris their sound is engraved in my memory and soul and nostalgia is high with this absolutely delightful cue. I see the san, I can taste the air and I am in the mood for a croissant.

As the score develops so my delight grows as Laura Karpman brings back that vintage 60s, 70s French comedies sound that I just adore, with the amused female vocalisations and the accordion, with that unmistakable rhythm that makes me think of people flowing rather than walking, of carefree moods, of charming little gestures. I mean the jazz of “Je te veux” which is a vocal song featuring Ute Lemper is a time machine on its own. There is jazziness and sass even without vocals as the composer creates a playful, quirky and amusing mood with which she infuses the entire score. What a breath of fresh French vacation air this album brings. It’s not all retro vibes as sometimes Laura Karpman innovates with finger snapping and hide and seek flute and piano motifs which make a cue like “A picnic” the most playful piece from the album and with “Groovy bistro” which is the longest cue and pretty much self explanatory in the title.

“Paris can wait” is one of the most charming scores I’ve heard in a while; Laura Karpman both experiments and gets everything right with the French setting, the quirkiness and the playfulness of the music. If you’ve ever seen a French comedy or a romantic movie set in France, be it Paris or the Cote d’Azur or if you’ve ever been there this score will bring back those feelings and memories. Nostalgia and charm galore with this jazzy delight, a composition that marks a welcomed escape and vacation from the soundscape of today’s film music.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 21 / 42

Album excellence: 50%

Highlights:
La Croisette
Lavender in Bloom
Playing Hooky
Left Behind
Groovy Bistro
Possibilities
A Dance
The End of the Road
First Kiss
And Chocolate

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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