What you will expect from a story about a writer; that normal is superfluous! In other words, embrace abstraction, and as usual pay attention to colours and rhythms like reading a poem.
Tom Ricks (Ethan Hawke) returns or arrives in Paris. He is a professor in US, his ex-wife, Nathalie(Delphine Chuillot) and daughter, Chloé (Julie Papillon) live in Paris. At Immigration, he says he is there to take care of his daughter, but he doesn’t seem to know exactly where they live when he gets to the apartment. His wife is surprised to see him, threatens him that he will call the police. Chloé was told her dad was in prison, and he corrects her and says he was sick. He flees as police arrive.
He takes a bus to an arrondisement one never associates with Paris. He has been robbed while on the bus. He has no job, no money, no family. The owner of the bar/café/motel, Sezer(Samir Guesmi) takes him in, and even offers him a night-job, while he writes.
He has one book published named “Forest Life”. In a bookstore, he finds his book, and the store-owner invites him to a Meetup where other writers talk and mingle. He sees Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas), and he starts an affair with the woman in the Fifth. As Margit describes, her husband was also writer, and she translated his works. She says these four things: love, loss, transcendental yearnings, sex.
There were scenes of forest and insects, confined workspace and mundane task that cemented the story or further disintegrated it into puzzle pieces that would need to be put together again.
One more thing Margit says, his husband was terrible with punctuations! Ania (Joanna Kulig) is Sezer’s girlfriend/waitress, and falls for the writer, sings a song in Polish that moves him to tears.
WATCH…the line between Art and BS is all in the eye of the beholder. So do choose your label.