Bright, good-looking American Isabel Walker [Kate Hudson] has arrived in Paris to see her half-sister and poet, Roxanne de Persand [Naomi Watts]. Just as Isabel arrives, however, Roxanne’s painter husband, Charles-Henri, is leaving his wife for another woman. He’s divorcing his wife for Magda Tellman, a Russian whose American husband [Matthew Modine] is very unhappy about this development. Complications in the divorce arise over a painting belonging to Roxanne’s family. Experts are brought in to determine its value. Isabel gets a job, working for American author Olivia [Glenn Close], who’s preparing to move back to the U.S. Isabel agrees to become a mistress to Edgar Cosset, a married French diplomat who once was Olivia’s lover. Edgar’s sister, Suzanne [Leslie Caron] appears to enjoy watching her brother, Edgar squirm over his relationship with the much-younger Isabel. Isabel and Roxanne’s family eventually arrive in Paris and the father [Sam Waterston] tries to determine the real price of their family painting. Roxanne has her baby, Isabel has more than one relationship, and the family has some good times seeing Paris.
The movie takes place in Paris and if it’s scenes of the city you’re hungering for, and then I suggest you buy/rent a travel video. This movie has no redeeming value, from my perspective. Isabel comes from an upper middle class family in Southern California and the fact that she’s slept with two different men within a short period of time doesn’t have any effect on her conscience and there’s no dialogue from her parents, after they arrive for a visit, suggesting she make better choices in her life. With the evidence about smoking so well known in the 21st century, I find it appalling today that producers are permitting their actors/actresses to smoke on screen. There is dialogue about the very laid-back attitude of French women whose husbands have mistresses, and suggesting that American women should be more accepting of this, as men really are wired to sleep around. I did get a kick out of Olivia’s talking about French women’s use of scarves, as I’ve observed this not only in France, but other countries as well.