She's the walking definition of an ugly American, trundling through Paris in white sneakers and an oversize fanny pack. But as a lonely tourist practicing her French, Margo Martindale provides a lovely, bittersweet coda to the omnibus film "Paris, Je T'Aime." Martindale narrates Alexander Payne's concluding segment in clunky French, reporting back to her language class about her week's vacation. We watch one unexceptional encounter after another, as the script deftly sketches in details of a middle-aged woman's hunger for more. A job as a letter carrier, the two dogs, the boyfriend she hasn't seen in more than a decade - with every small revelation we come to understand why the trip will be both a lifesaver and a disappointment. At the end there's an epiphany of sorts, which Martindale, a wonderful character actress, underplays beautifully. As time goes by, she'll forget the moment, and remember everything.
(Frederique Barraja/First Look Pictures)
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