Roland himself is a paradigm of barely controlled chaos. He's on the brink of becoming an upscale TV celebrity as a popularizer of Paris lore when he develops an obsessive crush on a stunning student (Melanie Laurent). He vents confused scorn on his brother (Francois Cluzet), a successful architect with a solid marriage and a happy vision of the future, including a baby on the way. Roland's visit to a shrink is a mini-masterpiece of comic timing; his character both imbues the film with comic pathos and pushes the action forward. He sums up the spirit of Parisian anarchy in his mood and manner.But at dead-center of Klapisch's vision is a former chorus boy named Pierre (Romain Duris). He contemplates the metropolis as he waits for a heart transplant that will guarantee him only a 40 percent chance of recovery. In one of the film's many vivid contrasts, Pierre's social-worker sister, Elise (Juliette Binoche), who moves in with her three children to care for him before his operation, comes to stand for the native wit and toughness we associate with working heroines from Paris' Popular Front culture of the 1930s. When she simultaneously enters the world of a fruit and vegetable salesman (Albert Dupontel), she becomes an urban Earth mother.