Thursday, September 8, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris; Fantasy comedy, USA, 2011; D: Woody Allen, S: Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Corey Stoll, Tom Hiddleston, Kurt Fuller, Michael Sheen, Carla Bruni, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody

Paris. Gil is a 'light' Hollywood screenwriter who wants to write a serious novel. He is nostalgic of the good old days of Paris in the '20s when artists were achieving real masterworks, whereas his sense for detachment from the present is exacerbated by his absent fiance Inez and their parents who are conservative and clash with his liberal political views. One midnight, an old car shows up and brings Gil back to the Paris of the 20s, where he meets F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso,
Luis Buñuel, Dali and others. He falls in love with a girl, Adriana, but she is nostalgic of the 'Belle Epoque'. A carriage brings them to that period, but it seems artists there think the best age was the Renaissance. Realizing he should live in his own time, Gil returns home and meets a French girl.

A gentle fantasy comedy, surprisingly charming and elegant, cultured and full of almost unobtrusive educational lessons about artists from the beginning of the 20th century, "Midnight in Paris" continued Woody Allen's untypical streak of films in the latter phase of his career where he experimented much more with a new kind of modern style. The wage: "Midnight" surprisingly became his biggest box office hit, even surpassing his previous champion "Hannah and her Sisters", whereas he again picked a fantasy setting where two worlds collide, reminiscent of his similar "Purple Rose of Cairo". Allen's French version of "Back to the Future" is funny and has inspiration: the Iraq War remark; the Tea Party joke; the mispronunciation of Versailles as "Versaille"; the perfect Salvador Dali performance by Adrien Brody; the great Luis Buñuel joke when Gil advises him to make a "movie about people who cannot get out of a room" but the director doesn't get it...All these are delicious small pieces of pleasure that grow on you and create sympathy for the film, so full of good humor that it is difficult to ignore it, while at the same giving a hidden message that every person should live in their own time and age. "Midnight in Paris" is comprised just out of small jokes and ideas, but even the greatest things are assembled out of small elements.



J Luis Rivera said...

I love how it's simple, yet irresistibly charming.

I would never say it's a masterpiece, not even amongst Allen's own filmography... but I'm sure it's now one of my top 5 personal FAVOURITE Allen films.

Marin Mandir said...

I agree, it doesn't reach the scope of some of his best films, but it is such a delight. I went to the cinemas without any expectations but was pleasantly surprised at how engaging the whole film is.