Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas ★★★½

Paris, Texas is another one of those films I discovered thanks to the Letterboxd community. I knew little to nothing about it until I read several glowing reviews for it on this site. After my viewing I understand much of the praise, but I didn't quite love it like most people seem to. I'll do my best to explain why.

Director Wim Wenders did an excellent job from the start at peeking my interest. A man wanders out of the dessert. It's a simple set up, but very effective because I instantly wanted to know his story. The way it's done basically sets up a mystery. As the mystery very slowly starts to unravel we learn that Paris, Texas is a story about great loss and redemption. The way it plays out will tug at the heartstrings for most, but it didn't quite have that affect on me. The main reason I can put my finger on is too much is left open. You see Travis (Henry Dean Stanton) wanders out of the desert, his brother finds him, and so begins our journey. We learn Travis had been gone for four years leaving behind a wife and son. His brother and his wife have cared for his son and become his parents. That's part of our redemption tale. The rest is finding the boys mother. Who hasn't been seen since Travis disappeared. This is where I began to have issues. Travis takes his son from California to Houston, Texas without telling his brother or his brother's wife who as I said became mother and father to the boy. Only a phone call is ever made to them by the boy and that's the last we see of them. If your brother who wandered out of the desert in Texas with little to know explanation as to where he's been wouldn't you have an issue with him taking the boy you've raised for the last 4 years who barely remembers his real father? We see nothing of their worry after the phone call. The police are not called nothing! I saw this, and a couple other aspects of the story as major plot holes. The end bugged me as well, but I won't go into it to avoid spoilers.

As much as the plot holes bothered me I still found plenty to like. Henry Dean Stanton plays the role of Travis beautifully. You feel his pain, and the sense of heartbreak and loss is conveyed wonderfully through his expressions and body language. The cinematography is beautiful. Many scenes could be framed and displayed as wonderful works of art. The story is an interesting tale of redemption and heartbreak that I'm glad I finally got around to.

So I landed at a 3 1/2 rating. Plenty to like here, but I had issues with the things I mentioned. The redemption while touching also felt cold and rubbed me the wrong way at the end. With all that said I still highly recommend it. It's was a really liked it for me, but you may find the love that many others have and that's well worth a shot if you ask me.

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