Nick Hart is a struggling American artist who lives amongst the expatriate community in 1920s Paris. He spends most of his time drinking and socializing in local cafés and pestering gallery owner Libby Valentin to sell his paintings. He becomes involved in a plot by wealthy art patroness Nathalie de Ville to forge three paintings. This leads to several run-ins with American rubber magnate Bertram Stone, who happens to be married to Hart’s ex-wife Rachel.
User Reviews: *****SPOILER ALERT!!!*****
Alan Rudolph’s "The Moderns" is a wonderful, funny and twisted film set in 1920’s Paris, France. The front burner story is a triangle between Nick, his runaway wife and a cold as ice businessman that wants to obtain a higher social status. Nick(Keith Carradine)and Rachel(Linda Fiorentino)were married years ago and she bails out of the marriage. Years later, she shows up on the arms of Bertram Stone (John Lone). While he deals with her reappearance, he is also talked into making art forgeries by a rather shady behaving gallery owner, Valentin(Genevieve Bujold), as a favor for the wealthy Nathalie De Ville(Geraldine Chaplin). His friend, Oiseau (Wallace Shawn)constantly tells Nick that they should head to a new town called Hollywood to seek their fortune and Ernest Hemingway (Kevin J. O’Connor)wanders around in a state of alcoholic cynicism and making quirky observations.
The story, like the period in which the action takes place, is surreal. One scene has one of the dead characters rise from the grave like Houdini, strait-jack, chains and all. The relationship between Nick and Rachel is the heart of the story: Nick doesn’t want to trust Rachel because of what she did, but all of his actions throughout the film are a result of Rachel. When he paints the forgeries, he thinks of Rachel’s beauty and puts his feelings on canvas. He loves her, but is fighting with the possibility that if he opens his heart to her again, she will break it again. You can see this conflict when he slaps her in front of Stone, yet immediately becomes apologetic. Should he love her, or should he just back off? He clearly does when they share a sexual romp on the bathroom floor while her husband is downstairs.
The entire cast is great, but the best performance comes from O’Connor, who I think is one of the most underrated actors around.
This is a great movie to have if you feel like having a Paris night movie marathon, or just to have fun.