Review: 'Paris 36'

Period drama follows a young girl's career as she auditions for a music hall in prewar Paris.

French movies about the theater are sometimes great ("Children of Paradise"), sometimes pretty good ("The Last Metro"), sometimes overhyped ("La Vie en Rose"). But one thing they always are is French – very French. By this I mean, amour is omnipresent, baguettes abound, and the women are, without exception, gorgeous. Case in point: Christophe Barratier's "Paris 36," which is set in 1936 and is about the resurrection of the Chansonia Music Hall, in a working-class district of Paris as those pesky World War II storm clouds are gathering. The film is deliberately old-fashioned in its approach; the story line is resolutely linear and the production values are deluxe. It all makes for a fairly enjoyable, if schematic, backstage extravaganza. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and nudity, violence, and brief language.)

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