November 29, 2002
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Jean Reno, Sergi López, Scali Delpeyrat, Karine Belly, Raoul Billerey, Nadège Beausson-Diagne, Alice Taglioni, Jérôme Keen, Sébastien Lalanne, Michel Lepriol, M'bembo, Laurence Colussi, Lucy Harrison, Rebecca Steele, ,
Jet Lag (2002) is a French romantic comedy in the tradition of Before Sunrise (1995) and the more recent, Lost in Translation (2003). Two strangers en route to their respective destinations are stranded in a city and end up spending their layover time together. Rose (Binoche)’s flight has been cancelled due to an air traffic controller strike. To add insult to injury, she loses her cell phone in a public toilet. She spots a tall man named Felix (Reno) talking on his cell phone and borrows it. They start to talk and when Rose realizes that she is going to be stranded for the night, Felix invites her to crash in his hotel room provided by the airline for his cancelled flight.
When we first meet Juliette Binoche’s character she comes across as a bit of a glamour-puss. She wears a lot of make-up, uses a lot of hairspray and dresses in expensive-looking clothes. After Felix accidentally spills vinaigrette all over her and she has a shower, Binoche’s look softens considerably. She looks radiant once all of the make-up is removed and her natural beauty comes to the surface. Her performance in Jet Lag is closer to the lighter touch of Chocolat (2000) as opposed to her more dramatic work in Blue (1993), however fans of both should enjoy this movie.
Jean Reno, known mostly in this country for his action film work (Mission: Impossible and Ronin), has a reputation for being quite the versatile actor in his native country. At first, he comes across as his typical low-key self but as the film progresses, he shows quite a different side. He is a charming and charismatic character with a gift for the gab. After doing so many intense, action-driven films (i.e. Leon—The Professional), it is refreshing to see Reno flexing a different kind of acting chops in this movie.
Felix and Rose start off as frenzied characters and only once they get out of the context of their busy lives do they remove the layers that protect them from the outside world. This is symbolized with the removal of Rose’s make-up and with Felix’s shift from a quiet persona to one that is warm and talkative. Both of them are in need of companionship, someone to connect with in their busy lives.
The chemistry between Binoche and Reno feels authentic. They portray engaging characters that become more interesting over the course of the film. This is a dialogue-driven movie about two lonely people who spend the night talking and having engaging conversations. They talk about their feelings, about love and relationships. Rose is the romantic to Felix’s pragmatist. She believes that when you are in love you give it your all.
None. Only trailers for other Miramax movies.
Jet Lag is a romantic comedy for people who prefer intelligent dialogue to sitcom coincidences and obvious physical comedy (i.e. Just Married). Films like this only work if you find the two leads attractive and believe the chemistry between them. Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno pull this off effortlessly and really make you care about their characters. It’s a shame no extras were included on this disc. An audio commentary by the director, deleted scenes or a Mak ing Of featurette would have been a nice touch for those who wanted to know more about this engaging film.