I was blown away by 2 Days in Paris (2007), written and directed by Julie Delpy, when I first saw it. It’s so rare to see a truthful—and very funny—examination of romantic relationships told from a female perspective, especially with such a raw frankness about sex, relationships, and all the ups and downs that accompany both.
This unique rom-com follows Marion (Delpy) and Jack (Adam Goldberg) as they experience two days in an apartment in Paris—with Marion’s family right downstairs. Jack experiences intense culture shock and also discovers that, even after two years together, he doesn’t know everything about his girlfriend. With each ex-boyfriend of hers they run into, he begins to suspect that she’s cheating on him.
Jack’s fears are cemented by a series of unfortunate misunderstandings and are exaggerated by Marion omitting specific details about her past. Instead of condemning Marion for these “little lies,” Delpy deftly shows how Jack’s issues reflect back on Marion, revealing that she keeps things from him because she knows his ego won’t be able to handle that information. Exasperated after a fight, she runs straight into the arms of one of her exes (with hilarious results).
Although Delpy and Goldberg share almost equal screen time, having a female filmmaker behind the story and the lens allows you to see something beyond the typical romantic farce. Marion is exhausted not just by Jack’s assumptions but also by her own past—in one particularly stunning scene, she encounters an ex who ghosted her and tells him, LOUDLY, all the reasons why she’s still angry with him.
Marion is carrying around some baggage, but that’s exactly why I find her so authentic and relatable. To bring us in even closer, Delpy uses Marion’s narration to punctuate the story with personal revelations. During Jack and Marion’s final confrontation, instead of hearing their argument, Marion’s thoughts drown out their dialogue and end with her saying, “It’s always the same for me; break up, break down. Get drunk, fool around,” and then fall in love with someone else and start the cycle all over again… something Delpy continues to explore in her sequel, 2 Days in New York (2012).