This month, Netflix debuted it’s sparkly new series Emily in Paris, to the delight, yet slightly controversial opinion of the public. Emily in Paris stars Lily Collins as the spritely Emily Cooper, a young, up-and-coming star in the world of marketing who is swooped to Paris for a new job and a whole new life. The series, while delightfully delicious and endearing, polarised critics and viewers from not only the U.S. and Australia, but France itself. However, if you’re like me and this series left you striving for more France-based content to grace your screen, here’s a list of five films set in the city of lights that you’ll want to check out.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
A staple of cinema since it’s release in 2011, Midnight in Paris follows Owen Wilson in the lead role of Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter who arrives in Paris with his fiancé Inez and her conservative family. The film plays through the motions of the city as Gil becomes more entranced by his surroundings (and obsession with 1920’s Paris), very much like Emily in Paris‘ over-romantisiced view of the city. Midnight in Paris taps into the beauty of the surroundings many people love to see when escaping from their everyday life to experience somewhere new.
Let the Sunshine In (2017)
Starring French-film staple Juliette Binoche, Let the Sunshine In is a modern classic. The film follows Isabella, a divorced artist in an unhappy relationship with a married banker, as she ventures out to build and experience an array of different relationships. While differing in tone to Emily in Paris, the film ventures into the romantic-drama that follows Isabella’s experiences with different characters while she tries to find connection — a very relatable through-line for Emily Cooper.
Set during the 1950’s, Populaire follows the life of Rose Pamphyle, a young woman who sets out to build a career for herself within the secretarial field. After taking a position for the charming Louis Échard, she discovers she may be the fastest typist in the world, leading her to the 1959 international speed typing contest in New York City. Akin to Emily in Paris, the film sets the stage for a glossy, brightly-coloured world that lives armed with an array of unique, high-quality fashion. Populaire takes viewers on a journey of stunning visuals and intricate details, that would make even Hairspray jealous.
Romantics Anonymous (2010)
With romance on the brain in the dizzying world of Emily’s, Romantics Anonymous takes this theme and turns it on its head. The film follows Angelique, a woman suffering from an anxiety disorder, falls for her boss, Jean-Rene, who also suffers from a similar condition. While the film follows similar beats to the Netflix series, it utilises the core theme to highlight prevalent mental health issues while also grounding the leads in a relatable way. It also doesn’t hurt that Romantics Anonymous features the cutest chemistry that most rom-com’s haven’t seen for a long time.
The Artist (2011)
Well-known to audiences around the world but undeniably still a classic, The Artist is a turning point for French cinema. Written in the form of a black-and-white silent film, The Artist depicts a Star Is Born-style approach to romance as starlet on-the-rise Peppy Miller falls for silent film star George Valentin whose star is slowly dimming. Beautiful costuming, effervescent scenery and intricate cinematography wraps this production in a neat little bow. The Artist is essential viewing for anyone yearning for more French culture on their screen.
You can catch Emily in Paris streaming on Netflix.