Along with the outstanding performances (which we will gush on again a little later in the post), there were also some unique features of this film, some of which remain solely with From Paris With Love.
Layered on top of this opening were the sounds of Stevie Wonder, the first of a slew of tracks and an original score that helped bring this story to life from beginning to end. In fact, it seems to tell a story all its own, mirroring themes of spring and references to Paris. Some are the original classics, others are modern covers of classics, reflective of the characters whose scenes are accompanied by the track---I am thinking of Shane and "Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" here. It's an incredible soundtrack that has yet to be matched in depth or breadth neither before, nor after, it.
From a storytelling perspective, this film completes plots planted in the Pilot, while opening a whole host of others, doing so in a compelling and emotional way.
We all knew closure of the plot involving Holly had to come, particularly after Oliver mailed in the series finale. What From Paris With Love did brilliantly was weave in Shane's flashbacks of moments from the series to not only reflect her emotional state, but give the audience who may not have seen the series a chance to catch up on that particular element.
Besides that, the story of Caitlyn and Joey, as well as the love triangle between Holly, Oliver and Shane, acted as points of reflection and mirroring for both individual characters and couples, all layered on top of each other. Romance, heartbreak, mending, healing, moments of unfettered and much needed honesty---it was a complicated and beautiful mess that has kept us talking about, and calling back to, this installment for over a year now. That, and the porch swing all on its own...
And who could get the incredible performances? We knew the cast was all about this script from their social media posts, but what they brought to the table far exceeded what I might have imagined. I do believe this film remains a standout ensemble performance. It was clear the stories of love playing out between, and around, the POstables had a profound impact on their characters---and the cast portrayed that brilliantly.
To see Norman mirroring some of these same internal and external conflicts over Rita is a side of him we really had not seen before. You see him struggling to figure out what he can do to "get a bigger broom," as well as watch him wonder if what he is doing is even enough to put a dent in the task of winning Rita's heart. We as the audience realize he already has Rita's heart, but to see it confirmed during that emotional moment in the wake of Shane's resignation is altogether sad and beautifully satisfying at the same time. Of course, Geoff worked this all through brilliantly.
So it is for all these reasons that I am still in love with this installment a year later, and why it remains my overall favorite for all time. Not only did it include special elements that allow it to stand out as unique, but the story and its journey remain close to my heart for how beautifully it was portrayed.