Midnight In Paris

Ever get the feeling to just walk.  Walk and see where it leads you.  Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) struggles to find joy with his fiancee, Inez (Rachel McAdams), her friends and family so instead he decides to walk the streets of Paris.  After finding himself lost after the stroke of midnight, a car from another world drives up the cobblestone street.  Gil gets in and is transported to an era where his literary icons exchange stories and gallivant around the city of lights.  Transfixed on returning to this bygone era, Gil departs every night to the 1920’s where his stagnate novel is appreciated and a charming art groupie, Adriana (Marion Cotillard) holds his fancy.  Gil finds himself stuck between the era he has always felt he belonged and the struggles of his real life.

When is Paris the most beautiful? Gil and his counterparts argue each sides of this age old question throughout the film.  During the day, at night or even in the rain, but one thing is certain this is a love letter to Paris.  This film features equal parts classic Woody Allen dialogue and b roll shots of the city.  Three unique periods of classic Parisian beauty are seen throughout the film showing how long this city has been at the height of elegance.  Midnight In Paris is Woody Allen’s, first feature film shot entirely in Paris.  Makes sense that he would make it him love letter. Gil is a former Hollywood screenwriter who is working on his first novel, legitimizing himself as a true writer.  Yes, the similarities to Allen are prevalent and Wilson’s portrayal of Gil makes you think of Woody Allen 2.0.  But besides the stereotypical leading male of an Allen film, Gil’s novel is about a nostalgia shopkeeper, which offers a parallel to the rest of the film.  Gil like his novel’s protagonist longs to live in an era other than his own.  It stands as interesting content, that people are so dulled by their current situations that they long for this other time.  To Gil it was his constant longing that he was “born to late” and should have lived during the 1920’s.  Gil’s 1920’s love interest, Adriana, shared a similar notion but her desired time period was the La Belle Epoque.  The films major argument circles the struggle between existing in the present but living in the past.    The adventures into the 1920’s finds the audience face to face with some of the most celebrated literary and artistic minds of all time.  Unfortunately bringing to life these larger than life individuals was dismal at best.  Some of the more notable people were Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein, Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway, Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali, Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitgereld and less known actors as Picasso, Man Ray, and Toulouse-Lautrec.  The performances by the more well known actors suffered to their A-List status.  They may have acted the part but you could not get past their stardom.  Gertrude Stein still looked like Kathy Bates dressed up.  By being supportive characters they were not on screen long enough to lose their selves and become their character.

Feeling that I could not end this review on a sour note I wanted to mention how good a Woody Allen film this one.  Other then Vicky Cristina Barcelona this stands as one of the best films he has written and directed in recent years.

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