I am not the biggest Woody Allen fan. This is mainly due to me having a problem with his personal life. Since I’m so invested in film, at times I have trouble separating artists from their work. For similar reasons, I try to avoid some of Roman Polanski’s work. That’s not to say that either of these elite directors are bad at creating films, just that I’m hesitant to pay to see their work.
That being said, “Midnight in Paris” is the first Woody Allen film that I have seen at full length in one sitting. Other than a half hour here and there on the occasional TV viewing, I am not THAT familiar with his work.
Keep all of this in mind when I say that this film is more than just worth checking out. Much like the city that it takes place in, the film is dripping with charm, nostalgia and great atmosphere.
Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a writer visiting Paris with his fiancee, Inez, (Rachel McAdams) and her parents and, right off the bat, the audience knows Gil isn’t having the trip he would like to be having.
As Gil explains in the film, he and Inez are worlds apart when it comes to the big things….but they both really like Indian food. Gil is a romantic who fancies himself having been alive in Paris in the 1920’s while Inez is the stereotypical rich girl who cares more about the finer things.
One night while Gil goes for a walk, he hops into a car that ends up taking him back to the Roaring 20’s. Here, he runs into several of his literary and artistic heroes including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. The whole ordeal is amazing for Gil, but he learns that he can only visit this world each night at midnight.
Sneaking away from his fiancee (and her pedantic “friend” Paul) at night, Gil is wrapped up into a period that he so desperately wishes he was a part of. He falls in love with the city, the time and a woman named Adriana (Marion Cotillard) who is the mistress of Picasso.
The experience works wonders for the novel that Gil has been trying to finish and pushes him to question what he is really seeking in life. Do we romanticize the past because the present is unsatisfying?
“Midnight in Paris” features what many are calling the best writing and directing Woody Allen has put together in years and the cast is pretty solid. Beautiful Parisian scenery doesn’t hurt either.
The film is most definitely worth the 94 minutes it takes to view and will be probably be up for a few awards this season if later pictures like “The Artist” don’t cloud judgment.
Good afternoon and happy viewing!