Study Guide

An American in Paris Love

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HENRI: Let's just say I'm old enough to know what to do with my young feelings.

For Henri, love and youth are one in the same. How very, very French.

JERRY: Well, uh, with a binding like you've got, people are going to want to know what's in the book.

LISE: What does that mean?

JERRY: Well, uh, primarily, it means you're a very pretty girl.

LISE: I am?

JERRY: You are.

LISE: How do you know?

JERRY: I, uh, heard it on the radio.

When Jerry meets Lise, it's love at first sight, at least for Jerry. He knows nothing about her and, as a result, his cheesy come-ons are lost on her.

LISE: I haven't been out with many people, and they're always friends.

JERRY: Honey, believe me, I'm no enemy.

For Jerry, there's no line between love and lust. When he woos Lise, he comes on really strong, 1950s American-style .

JERRY: Lise, I don't know whether you're a girl of mystery or just a still water that doesn't run deep, but there's one thing I can tell you. I'd been around sooner, you'd know by now that you're very pretty, and I'm not making fun with you.

Lise's mysterious side is one of Jerry's biggest obstacles in winning her over. It's also one of the things he finds most attractive about her. Of course, we know that her mysteriousness is the by-product of the fact that she's engaged to another guy, but whatever; Jerry digs it.

JERRY: What gets me is, I don't know anything about her. We manage to be together for a few moments, and then off she goes. Sometimes we have a wonderful time together, and other times it's no fun at all. But I got to be with her.

The fact that Lise refuses to talk about what she does when she's away from Jerry and she has a habit of running away for seemingly no reason would be two massive red flags for us. What is it they say about love being blind? Jerry's got some serious blinders on.

HENRI: So be happy! You only find the right woman once.

ADAM: That many times?

Poor Adam. Jerry and Henri are chasing Lise. Milo's chasing Jerry. And nobody's chasing Adam, except for maybe a bartender who wants him to pay his tab.

LISE: Jerry, if it means anything to you, I love you.

Lise seems to think she's doing something nice for Jerry here, but really, she's just twisting the knife. Sure, she loves Henri—the dude saved her life when she was a kid—but she's in love with Jerry. Acting like she has no control over her love life is pretty cold.

LISE: Oh, Jerry. It's so dreadful standing next to you like this and not having your arms around me.

JERRY: You'll always be standing next to me, Lise.

LISE: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget.

JERRY: Paris? No. Not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way.

Love and beauty are such a big part of Paris's cultural identity in this flick that the city's practically another character, pardon the cliché. Lise may let Jerry down, but Paris? It won't. Jerry's dialogue in this scene is more lyrical than his earlier, clumsier come-ons. Guess he's under the influence—of Paris and Lise.

JERRY: I came to Paris to study and to paint because Utrillo did, and Lautrec did, and Rouault did. I loved what they created, and I thought something would happen to me, too. Well, it happened all right. Now what've I got left? Paris. Maybe that's enough for some, but Paris, it isn't for me anymore, because the more beautiful everything is, the more it will hurt without you.

LISE: Jerry, don't let me leave you this way.

Don't let you leave? C'mon, Lise! Take some responsibility for your actions. At this point, Jerry's ceased with the corny come-ons and opened up to Lise. He's being real—a bit dramatic, but real. If Lise still wants to run off to American with Henri, that's on her, not on Jerry.

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