Film Review: Paris, 13th District

Émilie, Nora and Camille walking through a park

Modern love is difficult. Long gone are the days of boy meets girl and living happily ever after. They fall in love, get married and have a big perfect family. Today, things are much more complicated. Dating is a complex and mysterious dark art, full of perils and pitfalls. A big city offers a lot more opportunity but there’s also added danger and greater competition. In Paris, 13th District, three people try and find a way.

Émilie (Lucie Zhang) is searching for a roommate. When Camille (Makita Samba) arrives to view the apartment, he’s not quite what she expected but the pair soon hit it off. However, their relationship is short and tumultuous. Subsequently, he takes over the management of a friend’s real estate business, which he knows absolutely nothing about. Nora (Noémie Merlant) is finding life difficult but a couple of events mark a turning point.

The first thing you’ll notice about Paris, 13th District is just how beautiful it looks. Paul Guilhaume’s sumptuous black and white cinematography brings the arrondissement to life and captures these interweaving stories in imaginative ways. However, the characters themselves feel a little too well drawn but also slightly undercooked. There’s a note of falseness here that keep you at arm’s length. Jacques Audiard’s millennium romance still has a lot going for it but doesn’t come anywhere close to challenging his best work.

Paris, 13th District is out in cinemas from 18 March.

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