review for Full Moon in Paris on AllMovie

Full Moon in Paris (1984)
by Craig Butler review

One of Eric Rohmer's bleaker efforts, Full Moon in Paris is a wry, ironic and insightful comedy with a melancholy streak and a feeling of unspecified disaster lurking underneath the surface. One of Rohmer's most lyrical efforts, much of the film seems to float along, mirroring Louise's somewhat directionless but intuitive questing. Rohmer uses his camera to visually capture the cold, sterile existence that Louise wishes to flee (and also secretly wishes to embrace); the first moment of the film is a tracking shot that roams over an unattractively anonymous suburban setting and comes to a halt when it focuses on Louise's undistinguished but vaguely off-putting house. Throughout, Rohmer shows the audience barren landscapes and hollow urban architecture that contribute to the unsettling feel of the film. As always, his script offers much more in the way of suggestion than explanation, allowing the audience to examine the characters from their own perspectives, and giving the actors freedom to create characters with a full inner life, without worrying about explaining that inner life to viewers. Pascale Ogier turns in a beautifully realized performance, capturing the complexity of the character perfectly and creating a Louise that is at turns engaging and alienating. (Ogier also designed the film's distinctive physical look.) She is well matched by Fabrice Luchini, whose performance sparkles with subtle humor. A gem of a picture, Full Moon would be followed by Rohmer's equally delicious but atmospherically different Summer.