Paris, Texas ★★★½

I always feel a little weird when when I watch a film that is so hugely loved by so many yet I fail to really connect with it on the same level. In those cases I wonder if it might actually be on me instead of the film. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood at the time for a film like it or maybe I'm just missing some deeper themes which would give more emotional depth to it. I don't know.

This is only my second Wenders film (the other being Der Himmel über Berlin) but I appreciate how he explores the connections between humans in a gentle manner and how he gives us the chance to find pieces of ourselves in the characters he puts on screen, really making his films feel personal because at its core they are so relatable and with its roots in human nature. Travis (brought to life by the great Harry Dean Stanton) was such a loveable character - though I did need some warming up to him because of him pretending to be mute at first, even to his brother who he hadn't seen in four over years, which felt kinda selfish - and his transition from being this dopey amnesiac, almost childlike in his demeanor, to the determined yet broken father figure we see him as near the end was beautifully done. Also greatly helped by the fantastic performance of his son Hunter, this little guy was so natural in his acting and in turn it really helped to make the bonding between him an Travis feel genuine. Yet also at a point in the film we learn about Travis' history through his intense monologue and he reveals that he is not the loveable guy we thought he was at all - he is actually quite the deplorable human - this for me made it hard to find any further sympathy towards his character and put a real damper on the emotional climax that was happening.

Then also at some point in the film the other major characters (his younger brother and wife) are suddenly completely cut out of the story even though they played an important role in Travis' character development and considering what Travis did to them I feel like their story deserved more closure of some sort. Besides that the scripting itself felt a little too convenient and too opportunistic at times as well, doing certain things only to hastily move the film along to its next chapter - which wouldn't have been as easily possible without those things but its hard to further elaborate on that without spoilers - although this is probably due to the fact that Wenders did not even have a finished script before starting his shoots and nearly running out of budget as well. It still felt somewhat rushed and the film would've benefited from a little more thought put behind it and maybe even, though it's already rather long, just a bit more story added overall.

I have to admit though that now that I'm putting my thoughts together in writing I feel my appreciation for this film is a little bigger than how I felt right after watching it, but I guess the problem is that it's merely appreciation. It failed to give me any really strong feelings towards it, it failed to really connect with me with its somewhat meandering storytelling and, most importantly, it failed to make me feel a real connection with its characters. Or maybe I just failed instead of it, again I don't know. Though having said all that I still think it's a rather beautiful story about family, loss and redemption and I can understand why this is a such a widely loved film. Just not by me. Really doubting between 3 or 3,5 stars but I'll keep it at the latter for now, maybe I'll give it another chance sometime in the future with a rewatch.


Part of my `I’m going to watch your favorites` list.

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