Film review: Midnight in Paris
Rating: **** out of 5
Review by: Alexa Williamson
Hmm where to start – should it be with the film or how beautiful Paris is in the film? Well done Woody Allen for capturing the magnificent city by day – and after hours in the graces of dark, cobbled streets and muted light from lamp posts, cafes and candles.
So we start there… and move on first to Paris…. If you have been to Paris – and you do not mind being in a city, then you are likely to fall in love with its lights, its gardens, its views and possibly the food. So for Paris lovers – and those who adore Woody Allen, the boyish charm of Owen Wilson (Gil) and the straightforwardness of Kathy Bates who plays Gertrude Stein for a few scenes then this is a film worth seeing. Woody Allen, as some might know is an expert at wry comments… so if you like sarcastic and dry humour you will like his work. He also loves “themes” whether it is old Eastern Europe (Love and Death), a sci-fi setting (Sleeper) or New York from any decade (Manhattan, Annie Hall, Manhattan Murder Mystery and more).
The dialog of Midnight in Paris is not as intellectually amusing as that of Love and Death, Annie Hall or some other old works, but it is a lovely “dream” of a piece as a taxi pulls up every night after midnight to take Gil, a struggling writer of fiction, back to 1920s Paris – his favourite time period. And, during this clever Cinderella-like journey (which surreal artist Man Ray – who we meet one night at a café – thinks is no big deal), we meet many people including F Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, Pablo Picasso, Manet, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali and Picasso’s girlfriend of the time, Adriana, who turns out to be the main heroine and love interest for Gil.
Overall, the piece is a very amusing comedy and Owen doesn’t get Adriana as a girlfriend, but he learns to be happy in the present and the taxi rides to 1920s Paris are real but an escape. (Actually Adriana escapes back to an even earlier time period in Paris – turn of the 20th century – as she loves it so much) but her new comrades of the era Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gaugain and Edgar Degas actually would rather be in the Renaissance period – so her golden age, which is the turn of the century (circa 1900) is boring to them but fascinating to her. And, unlike Gil, she decides to stay there… (psychology going on, yes, but at least Woody keeps it light).
Worth catching – even if you don’t know who everyone is. Stuff can be learned and Paris is really really pretty. Acting and dialog are mediocre overall but the concept is clever and the setting and way it is lighted and portrayed – after midnight – is noirly divine. The length of the film is also perfect as it feels like being in a dream and at the end, as Allen cleverly has let us in to yet another famous era, and then we have to “go” makes the entire piece feel like a delightful and fleeting dream.
Midnight in Paris (IMDB)