Midnight in Paris
A love letter from Woody Allen to Paris will satisfy anyone who ever visited this beautiful city.
Ok, I have to admit, this is the first Woody Allen film I’ve EVER seen. I am thinking it will make the review a bit shallow, since I can not compare the movie to his previous works, but from the other side, I believe this will be the most unbiased review about this film you can find in internet. I wasn’t anyhow attached to this piece of art, I didn’t know what to expect from it. So everything was, in a way, a nice surprise.
It took me 2 days actually to sit down and write the lines you are going to read now. The reason behind this is I couldn’t actually imagine how exactly I should approach it. Its a very interesting movie with an interesting, lets say “adventure” happening right in between. Telling that adventure is spoiling the movie, not telling it is actually omitting a great deal of interesting characters, storylines, plots, and etc. So after contemplating all this time I decided to go with second scenario.
Paris… A beautiful, magical, irreplaceable, incredible place where all the interesting stuff has happened and still happens. So thinks young Californian writer Gil (Owen Wilson). He is visiting the capital of France with his fiancee and future in-laws. This is a dream come true for him. Seeing the places where his heroes – Monet, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali – have lived and created their most amazing masterpieces. For Gil, Paris in the beginning of 20th century has been the most amazing place in the world. And he is hoping to get some inspiration for his new book. Unfortunately, his future wife is not so ecstatic about all the past, and she prefers to enjoy all the fancy of the present, in the company of her friends, whom Gil finds repulsive. So one day he leaves his fiancee with her friends and goes wandering the streets of Paris. And then he, by chance, stumbles upon a magical adventure, of which he has never dreamed before. Indeed, midnight in Paris is enchanting…
Essentially, the film is a love letter to Paris from Woody Allen. Its perfectly made. The scenes are beautifully lit and colored, the framing is nice. I do really like the usage of long takes, and this movies doesn’t lack them. It starts by showing a very beautiful montage of the city, I have never been to. Doesn’t make me nostalgic or doesn’t tingle my heart very much, and yet I really felt what the director wanted to show by this actual video clip. It doesn’t matter if I hate everything French (and, well, yeah I kinda do), this movie manages to bring all the glory, all the pride, all the beauty, all the magic of this eternal city. I’m sure I will some day visit Paris (I promised my wife I will take her there some day) and then I’m going to revisit this movie, and I’m sure I will have totally different feelings about it.
Nevertheless, the plot itself is very interesting. Without going into much detail, its not your cliche romance movie, and it doesn’t try to be. It has its own course and it travels there on its own pace. Sometimes you wonder the reaction of the main hero in certain moment, and then you try to put yourself in that situation and understand that maybe you would have acted the same way. The acting is very good. I’m not a great fan of Owen Wilson, and don’t consider him as a good actor, but I believe Allen managed to pull out of him EVERYTHING that the role of Gil should be. And that’s remarkable.
Supporting cast is probably one of the best this year. Katy Bates brings an interesting touch to her role. Adrien Brody plays his part very nice, and I really smiled when I saw him on screen. Indeed, I can’t imagine anyone playing THAT role better. Michael Sheen plays a very convincing “pseudo-intellectual”. The only role I didn’t connect to was the one of Marion Cotillard. She seemed shallow.
The other thing I didn’t like was the revelation, the message of the movie. I don’t know if it was artistic inability of Owen Wilson, or directorial eccentricity of Woody Allen, but it seemed that this message was delivered too ordinarily, unlike the whole movie itself.
Overall, I did enjoy the movie. For my inner romantic it was a long awaited drink, after long drought. One of the best this lackluster year in cinema. I would really recommend it to watch it on one quiet night with a glass of wine in your hand and cracking fire in the fireplace. I’m giving it 8/10.