Jet Lag (review)

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The impossibly long lines that crawl imperceptibly toward a surly counter agent. The information boards reading DELAYED CANCELLED DELAYED CANCELLED. The cranky would-be passengers. The bad, overpriced food. The nightmare of being stranded at an airport gets a little more interesting and a lot more frustrating, in a wholly unexpected way, for two strangers who keep bumping into each other in a Paris airport shut down by bad weather and wildcat strikes. Rose, a beautician, is escaping a romantic relationship gone sour, though she hates herself for sneaking off to begin a new life alone — Juliette Binoche (Chocolat) lends her an air of breathy distractedness that belies her deep hurt, and lets her paradoxically blossom under the decidedly brusque attention of Félix, a chef. Jean Reno (Rollerball), whom American filmmakers never seem to know what to do with, reveals the too-guarded passion under the gruff charm of this expat Frenchman who can’t seem to decide where he wants to be. Director Danièle Thompson (who cowrote the screenplay with her son, Christopher Thompson) doesn’t strain the metaphor of the airport — as both the impulse to start over by running away and the impossibility of ever running away from yourself by keeping flowing the pointed wit in this virtually two-person show. Irresistibly enchanting and smartly sexy, this is the thinking gal’s romantic comedy, one that knows that romance is all in your head, and worth all the agita it causes.

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