A review of “Jet Lag” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: R for language, brief sexuality

Run Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

 

 

French film veterans Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno make beautiful music in this charmingly romantic ode to the weary traveler.

Who can’t relate to strikes, bad weather, and computer snafus that wreak havoc with carefully cultivated travel plans?  Battling the travel gods at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport outside of Paris are Rose (Binoche), an engagingly arch beautician fleeing an abusive lover, and Félix (Reno), a harried, eccentricity-prone businessman on his way to a Munich funeral.

Thanks to a few quirky twists of fate (and a healthy sprinkling of pixie dust), Rose and Félix repeatedly encounter one another while struggling with lengthy lines, spotty phone reception and delayed flights.  A comedy of errors segues into a subtler character study, opening up small doors into Rose’s and Félix’s pasts and their shaky emotional foundations.

While Rose enthusiastically chips away at Félix’s carefully controlled guard, ex-chef and frozen-foods magnate Félix is unwittingly teaching Rose a thing or two about self-esteem and her immature taste buds.  Confession builds on confession, and voila!, a precarious but cathartic tinker-toy castle of a friendship is born.

“Jet Lag” is billed as a comedy, but its undertone is decidedly bittersweet.  The forced kinship of strangers (allowing refreshing verbal liberties) reveals a few awkward missteps, but results in a charming kismet that unfolds with grace.  The backdrop of persistent international travel lends an aura of adventure and endless possibility.   Climax is an unfortunate foregone conclusion, but captivating nonetheless.