A Lady in Paris (‘Une Estonienne à Paris’)

DRAMA; 1hr 34min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Jeanne Moreau, Laine Mägi, Patrick Pineau

Grandes dames: from left, Mägi and Moreau

Anne (Mägi), the middle-aged Estonian lady of the title, presents herself as a mousey sort, and so is easily overlooked. She’s miserable, as well; flagrantly unwanted in her depressing new Paris job as home carer to a vile old bitch. Frida (the perennially fabulous, 85-year-old Moreau) is a fellow Estonian, but has no feel for her home country. She loudly despises Anne, whose Paris experience is a torment of exclusion. Bullied by Frida and alone elsewhere, Anne's situation would be untenable for most people. But she is not most people: 12 years divorced and with her children grown, she has nothing at all to go home to, and with that degree of aloneness comes a core of resolve.


A tentative closeness develops between the two women, informed by intuitive Anne’s growing understanding of Frida’s hopeless feelings for a long-time and much younger ex-lover (Pineau as Stéphane). With Estonian Ilmar Raag's soft-pedal direction, the trio’s tangled intentions are the furthest thing from fuzzy-feely. But this is a love story all the same, touched by moments of magic.