Movie Monday: The Last Time I Saw Paris 1954
Ah, I remember the last time I saw The Last Time I Saw Paris. (I've been waiting for the day I could slip that sentence into every day life, and it has yet to come.) I think it was sometime in my early, teen drama filled years of high school. I can remember feeling ridiculously moody after watching this romantic tragedy unfold on Turner Classic Movies one lonely Saturday afternoon. Yes, ridiculously moody and loving it. So as a relatively happy and level-headed 26-year-old who is now in a stable relationship, I wondered if I might have the same wonderful feelings about the movie or relate to it at all. Despite some pretty less than stellar reviews on Netflix, I gave it ago.
They met in the excitement and happiness of the liberation of Paris and shared a strangers' kiss on the street. Fate brought Helen and Charles together again that very same day, but quickly everything else in life would turn itself against them. Soon Charles is swept into the lavish life of Helen's family who lived carefree, irresponsible lives, more intent on having fun than worrying about the details. But soon, having fun all of the time begins to destroy the young married couple's happiness, and they quickly find themselves growing apart, driving each other away with each plea for affection from one another.
Based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel Babylon Revisited, this tale of romance after the great war is much less hopeful than you might expect. In fact, it's downright depressing. As a viewer, you can't help but want to physically reach into the screen and shake some sense into each character, as they continue to make decision after decision to further destroy what could have been a good life. Each character has major flaws, a quality of realism I usually enjoy in a movie, though in The Last Time I Saw Paris, it becomes pretty dark pretty quickly, without much redemption until, of course, it's too late- and then the movie ends.
Personally, I'm one who every once in a while enjoys to really soak in a sad, depressing story. Don't you ever just want to be sad while watching a movie? Perhaps on a rainy evening when you have loads of chocolate handy? If you're anything like me, then I would definitely watch The Last Time I Saw Paris. The acting is really great for the most part, even pretty good coming from Van Johnson- sort of a surprise, until you consider he was playing opposite of Elizabeth Taylor. It would be pretty difficult to screw that up, eh? Anyway, judge the acting for what you will. But The Last Time I Saw Paris is a tremendously sad and meandering film that you might actually enjoy!