“I used to think, maybe a long time ago, like — like in the time of the pharaohs or Louis the 13th — that there was somebody made just perfect for me.”
A precocious teen (Diane Lane) living in Paris with her self-absorbed mother (Sally Kellerman) and kind stepfather (Arthur Hill) meets a young movie-lover (Thelonious Bernard), and the two like-minds immediately bond. With the help of an elderly widow (Laurence Olivier), they make plans to kiss at a certain spot in Venice during sunset — but can they successfully elude their parents?
Reviews of this youthful romantic adventure, directed by George Roy Hill and taking place on the pictureseque streets of Paris and canals of Venice, have been decidedly mixed over the years, with some considering it a personal favorite, but the New York Times calling it “so ponderous it seems almost mean-spirited.” While elements of the screenplay verge on caricature — particularly Kellerman’s infatuation with a narcissistic movie director (David Dukes), and a pair of clueless American tourists (Andrew Duncan and Claudette Sutherland) who show up in the last portion of the film — I’ll admit to being intrigued by Lane, and completely caught up in her desire for meaningful interactions with a peer who “gets her”. Her loyal friendship with a flibbertigibbet schoolmate (Semple) helps to humanize her as someone more interested in quirkiness and following her own path than anything else, and it’s easy to relate to how isolated she feels being forced to live wherever her flighty mother’s whims (and latest marital decisions) take her. Bernard’s performance is a bit rough around the edges, but he’s believable as a movie-obsessed teen who knows a good catch when he sees one — and he treats Lane with appropriate respect and classiness. (See? Classic movies do teach you something!) Georges Delerue’s score is lovely, and the on-location sets are charming.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Diane Lane as Lauren
- Ashby Semple as Natalie
- Good use of location shooting in Paris and Venice
- George Delerue’s score
No, but it’s recommended (by me, at least). Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.