Midnight in Paris (2011) Poster

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10/10
Allen's Dreams are Magical
aharmas30 May 2011
There's something about the midnight hour, something special, mystical, and magical. In the case of this marvelous movie, its impact is fully realized, as we see our protagonist suddenly realize that he has the opportunity to face that which he truly admires, treasures, and dreams about. In the opening scenes, he expresses his desire to settle in the city of lights, and we know it's not going to be an easy thing to do. His girlfriend and he are quite different in their appreciation of what being in Paris means. She understands it's special, maybe from an aristocrat's point of view. He might be looking at it, as the dream place for an artist to find aspiration to fulfill his artistic goals.

One night, he wanders into the streets of Paris and finds himself lost, only to find himself rescue by a party of night socialites who turn out to be quite famous in some literary circles. Soon, the screenwriter/aspiring writer has an opportunity to see himself living one of his dreams as well as slowly come to some surprising epiphanies as he discovers more and more who his new acquaintances might truly be, and most important what their dreams really are.

The film is set in several time periods, and Paris glows intensely and seductively in everyone of those. From its overcast skies and reflective streets, showing lovely architectural details and its magnificent landmarks to the superb and lovely recreations of older time periods, one can't help being seduced, charmed, and inspired to find a way to show what a special place, and consequently what a truly magical film this might be.

Performances are outstanding all around, with Cotillard once again stealing every second she is on the screen. Through her eyes and carefully delivered lines, we understand what attracts us to this special time and place. She is a gorgeous and very talented performer, one who might be truly aware of her standing, yet she doesn't dwell on it. She attracts many types, but her philosophy is unique, move on, enjoy, live the moment. In a way, she is like the city that has inspired Allen, and many others before him. Paris as a place might not be aware of its magnetism, its beauty, and its power. Cotillard's muse is the perfect human equivalent, a dazzling and potent woman, who moves from man to man, place to place, time to time, and who surprises us with her own wishes near the end of the story.

Wilson inhabits the Allen persona, and he does a very good job, not creating a tired imitation, an annoying cliché that could have ruined the perfect balance of sight, sounds, and insightful dialog, keeping this masterpiece way ahead of the best Allen has offered before. For those of us who gasped during the fantasy sequences of "The Purple Rose of Cairo", the marvelous recreations of the stage in "Bullets Over Broadway", the dissection of relationships in many of his best films, get ready to see it all finally come together, as he picks from the best, and adds his personal touch, with many a funny and clever observation, uttered by Wilson with a honest and complete sense of wonder. Unlike many of his leading men, Wilson displays an innocence which allows him and us to see his adventures in a fresh light.

"Midnight in Paris" is a beautiful display of what movie magic can truly create, a sense of wonder long gone from contemporary cinema; This is a movie that entertains, teaches, and wears each one of its elements, like Paris bewitches us with every light, every facade, and every heartbeat of its music.
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9/10
Midnight in Paris
fandbnoir12 May 2011
Woody Allen's love affair with France, which goes back decades, finds its finality with "Midnight in Paris," the latest of Allen's Parisian brochures, which recently opened at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. The good news is that Allen seems to be paying attention in a way he hasn't always done in recent films, and has found a way to channel his often-caustic misanthropy, half-comic fear of death and anti-American bitterness into agreeable comic whimsy. The nominal point of "Midnight in Paris" is that we've all got to make the best of life in our own time while longing for a past that probably never existed. If anything, Allen seems to be rebuking himself, ever so mildly, for his compulsive romanticism, his obsession with the past and his disconnection from contemporary American life. Allen has baked us a sweet, airy Parisian dessert with just a sense of sentimental substance in the finish. One of his better films in his latter years.
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8/10
Parisian Holiday
alexart-130 May 2011
"Do you think it's possible to love two women at the same time?," asks our protagonist Gil Prender to a tour guide discussed Auguste Rodin's love for his mistress and his wife. Like that's the first time we've heard that question in a Woody Allen movie. Infidelity, gorgeous women, and neuroticism are some of Allen's favorite motifs, so it's really not too much of a surprise that they all appear in Midnight in Paris.

That said, Allen's rendition of those ideas feels fresh this time. Midnight in Paris is a sweet, fun romp through the art world of France. This light comedy may not have some of the heavier messages about adultery and art that previous Allen films have had, but Midnight in Paris is, nonetheless, an enjoyable exercise in allusion to the Lost Generation and artists of the 1920s.

Midnight in Paris begins with the same idea of a man, in this case a screenwriter named Gil played by Owen Wilson, searching for connection with the real world. The protagonist is clearly a projection of Allen's self, but no matter. Gil is engaged to the Inez, played by a blond Rachel McAdams who coincidentally (or is it?) looks like Scarlet Johansson from Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Inez bores Gil with her pretentious friends and spiteful parents, which ultimately causes Gil to seek inspiration on his own time by drunkenly wandering that streets of Paris. One night, he is invited into a car that takes him back to the 1920s where he meets his favorite writers and artists, something that eventually leads to a breakthrough in his work. A large supporting cast includes Kathy Bates, Allison Pill, Adrien Brody, Michael Sheen, and Marion Cotillard.

Allen's conception of Paris is just as romantic as the story itself. The film's physical look matches some of the complexities of the women in that it appears to be almost splashed in gold. It is, after all, the City of Lights. It's a beautiful movie that matches the pretty faces of its starring women.

Allen's screenplay leaps right off the page thanks to his cast, but this too is something that isn't unusual for a Woody Allen film. At his best, Allen picks actors that play their parts with a sense of realism that, when combined with some elements of the fantastic, charm the audience. Just about everyone here manages to do just this, with the exception of Rachel McAdams, who tries her hardest with an underdeveloped character. Marion Cotillard is the best of the cast (as per usual) in her role as Picasso's mistress. She's bursting with sexuality yet she's grounded in her ability to deliver her dialogue with her natural French accent.

Midnight in Paris is fantastique. In comparison to Woody Allen's previous tales of lust and spite, his newest film feels like a dessert rather than a filling entree, yet this is exactly how a good, highbrow summer movie should be. The cast shines just as bright as the lights at the top of the Eiffel Tower and Allen proves himself worthy of his place in society as a master director once again. By no means a classic, Midnight in Paris is a pretty little diversion, one that is grounded in a theatrical gimmick that totally works every time. This, along with The Tree of Life, will be one of a few summer movies that will dazzle visually (without explosions) and somehow manage not to insult the viewer's intelligence.
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10/10
A Magical Mystery Tour De Force
GeneralUrsus23 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Woody Allen's latest is beautifully written and a charming story that belongs in the top ten of his all-time greats. From the opening montage of lush, picturesque Parisian scenes the film is a love letter to the city of lights. Owen Wilson is perfectly cast as Gil Pender a Hollywood writer who has penned his first novel about a man who owns a nostalgia shop. Throughout his stay in Paris he hearkens back to the iconic characters who once roamed its winding cobblestone streets.

For everyone who sometimes ponders how life would be in another time, this film through whimsical storytelling and pure fantasy transports us. Perhaps that elusive world does not really exist or we are never truly content in whatever station we reside. Gil is enraptured with discovering the bistros where Ernest Hemmingway once wrote or the idea of living in garret with a sky light.

His fiancé played by Rachel McAdams who adroitly depicts a character both shallow and blasé and content to listen to the pseudo-intellectual musings of her onetime flame. To discuss the plot much further and divulge the magic twist would be a shame.

Midnight in Paris is a gourmet meal of delectably charming and playful scenes. Adrian Brody is riotous as a surreal artist and Kathy Bates deftly evokes a wise and famous writer. A character in the film remarks of seeing a movie but, she cannot recall what it was about or who was in it, not so with Midnight in Paris. It is a sweet, endearing and thought provoking film that will whisk you away into a sublime magical world.
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8/10
French Woody, at last!
M. J Arocena16 July 2011
The love between the French and the Americans has always been mixed with an element of dismissal even contempt but the love is real. Woody Allen walks that fine line in truly inspired fashion. "Midnight in Paris" is a delight. This is he first time I actually loved Owen Wilson. He is terrific as Woody's alter ego. Rachel McAdams superb. Her mean American girl is hilarious and frighteningly recognizably, so are Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy as her parents. What a chillingly awful, normal pair. I loved the moment in which Owen Wilson, in a great close up, comes to accept what's happening around him. I accepted it too. Happily. Another stand out moment: the meeting with Salvador Dali, played brilliantly over the top by Adrien Brody. Highly recommended.
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10/10
A Woody Allen masterpiece! A refreshing and endearing story.
guy-nicholas25 February 2012
As embarrassed as I am to say this, this is the first Woody Allen movie I have ever viewed. I have heard numerous amounts of good things about his work and his directing, and his originality. I never really had an interest in seeing this movie when it came to theaters, despite all of the positive comments about the movie, but when it was nominated for Best Picture I immediately added it to my Netflix list. I wasn't sure what to expect, but, I knew it was Woody Allen so I was pretty excited to view this movie, even though I had no idea what the movie was about. Boy, I was pleasantly surprised.

First of all, the movie is about Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) on a trip to Paris before their wedding. Despite Inez's rude comments that made me just wanna scream at her, Gil tries to be the best he can be to her, and that's frustrating. So one night, he goes wandering through the streets of Paris, and ends up getting lost. He's sitting on a flight of stairs, in the middle of nowhere, and when the clock strikes midnight, a car comes and takes him on a little adventure that sparks the plot of the whole movie. Along with Wilson and McAdams, there are some special appearances from Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, etc. etc. This makes the movie even more enjoyable.

The big reason why I love this movie is the originality to it. That's always a huge bonus to me when I watch a movie, is it original? I don't want some love story that's been done twenty times to a point that it's just a cliché in Hollywood. This movie is definitely original, and right from the get-go I was very satisfied in the movie before I was even thirty minutes in. A lot of the movies nowadays, and I'm sure you've heard people say this over and over, lack originality. There are a lot of retreads, sequels, and remakes. This movie, in no way, shape, or form, represents another movie of any kind. And I loved that fact, it just made me enjoy this film ten times more. All in all, I think this movie well-deserves the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

Woody Allen has crafted a beautiful movie packed with amazing scenes played off very well by the actors. The writing and directing is just completely amazing. The whole movie is amazing, right from the beginning, with the montage of Paris, to the very surprising, but not unsatisfying, ending. I highly recommend this movie to anybody he enjoys a good time in front of your TV, and who appreciates a good movie when they see one.

9.5/10
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10/10
Terrific!
vouty30 May 2011
I loved this movie! It blends film noir with Stardust Memories, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and a bit of Annie Hall. The scenes of Paris were enough to make one fall in love. The music was superb! Having all the artists and writers show up was the ultimate name dropping contest! Their caricatures were hysterical! Casting Adrien Brody as Salvatore Dali was mind blowing, along with the surreal discussion about a rhino.

I think Owen Wilson is the best Woody Allen by far. He has a kind of naivete that seems to fit perfectly with who Woody seems to be and the combination of Owen's good looks with Woody's humor is riveting!

Of course the "nostalgia" theme and the -I really want to be somewhere else because it's too boring here- give the story a whole other layer of meaning. For we artists and writers it's one of the things that sparks our creativity, so I loved this discussion and the never ending unraveling the story provokes. While he's entertaining you, getting you to laugh hysterically about it all, you're actually getting the point he's trying to make! There is no one who is so brilliant! Enjoy!
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"We'll always have Paris."
jdesando3 June 2011
"Paris, France is exciting and peaceful." Gertrude Stein

Welcome to the world of Woody Allen as he has always loved it: nostalgic, romantic, imperfect, and full of hope. Midnight in Paris is one of his finest treatises on the lure and delusions of the past: Like Zelig it depicts other times, like Purple Rose of Cairo it uses magic realism to deal squarely with the present. Allen has another of his surrogates, this time Gil (Owen Wilson),who virtually experiences the past (the twenties) while dealing with the troublesome present.

Gil, engaged to marry Inez (Rachel McAdams), is with her and her parents on business in Paris where he hopes to work on his novel while he is still a successful Hollywood writer. Although she is a materialist who would like him to become wealthy to enjoy the life his parents are used to, he dreams of escaping the hack work of LA and living in the City of Lights for inspiration, just as his idols Fitzgerald and Hemingway did in the roaring twenties.

Well, the twenties roar back to him as he experiences their friendship and the mentoring of Gertrude Stein, among just a few of the many expatriate luminaries he meets through the magic of nostalgia. Just one of the Allen signature touches that make him the equal of great European directors such as Rohmer and Godard is opening the film with music that reflects the allure of the twenties, the romance of Paris, and his abiding love for this city: "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" by Sidney Bechet combines jazz, the clarinet, the twenties, and Allen with a romantic nostalgia.

Owen Wilson catches the halting diffidence of the typical Allen persona without slavishly imitating him. Yet whatever little duplication Wilson employs endears as he sweetly visits his heroes, falls in love, and comes to terms with his writer's voice and his mismatched engagement. But that engagement is the troublesome present; the past offers the chance to experience history on a human level that only someone who writes for now and reveres the past can do.

The magic and the realism, both requiring hard work from the protagonist, lead to surprising understanding of human nature, the delusion of nostalgia and Paris, and hope for a present that brings love and inspiration.

"For all we know, Paris might be the hottest place in the universe." (Gil)

It's been at least a decade since I have enjoyed an Allen movie this much.
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8/10
You can do some thinking while laughing!
klassepige20 May 2011
Quite a lot of great lines carrying life's wisdom; Profound reflection and insight of living the precious present expressed in a light-hearted touch! If you have your own 'Golden Age' fantasy, you will likely enjoy it. This movie seems to be relatively more straightforward in communicating its message than some of Allen's other works, such as "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger." As a plus, lovely cinematography of the city of Paris - Mr. Allen has apparently fallen in love with the 'good old (and charming)' European major cities; e.g., London, Paris, Barcelona and etc. Very likely, you will leave the movie theater with a big and warm smile on your face...
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9/10
A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Woody Allen's ode to the City of Love, and its most celebrated denizens of the past
Murtaza Ali17 February 2013
Midnight in Paris is a subtle romantic drama with a comical touch that has a little bit of almost everything: be it magic-realism, romance, phantasm, voyeur, surrealism or even noir. It wouldn't be a hyperbole to proclaim that everything that Woody Allen learned and gained during his long stint in cinema culminated in form of Midnight in Paris – An ode to the City of Love, and its most celebrated denizens of the past. Driven by the very impetus that gives cinema its resonant charm, Woody Allen the auteur has seen his art go from strength to strength, taking new shapes and forms, being completely oblivious of the existence of his larger than life alter ego, Woody Allen the showman, whose stimulating works have been a treat for us all for last so many decades, and who himself has been a force to reckon with, right throughout his long and illustrious career that still seems to be in its prime.

I have grown up watching works of legendary Dev Anand, whose iconic movie career spanned well over six decades. Being an Indian, I guess it comes naturally to one! The first that I heard of Woody Allen was when someone eloquently referred to Dev Sahab as the Indian Woody Allen. It indeed seemed revolting! A showman, whom not only you but also your grandparents have grown up watching being compared to some run-of-the- mill movie maker form the Occident. But, it did succeed in getting me hooked. Today, I find the comparison to be much more apt. Dev Sahab was oblivious to the changing trends in the India Cinema, and remained royal to his idiosyncratic style. The same can be said about Mr. Allen, who became the champion of a resurgent parallel stream in American Cinema— inspired by the avant garde works of European auteurs like Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman—while others kept busy figuring out their new roles in rapidly changing American movie circles.

Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris Vintage Woody Allen, watching Midnight in Paris is like savoring the great city of Paris from the eyes of Mr. Allen himself. Midnight in Paris made an emphatic debut at the 2011 Cannes Festival, and succeeded in leaving a lasting impact on most of those present at the screening. During a press conference at Cannes, Woody Allen had said that he wanted to show the city of Paris emotionally, and wanted it to be the way he himself sees it, and he indeed succeeds in fulfilling his dream by bringing the city to life, thanks to his perspicacious eye.

Midnight in Paris presents a chapter in the life of a successful but disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), who yearns to break the shackles of monotony by writing a fiction novel, but is perplexed by his slender prospects as a writer beyond the glamour and razzmatazz of the sequestered world of Hollywood, while he is out on a vacation to the breeding ground of creativity and talent, Paris, and accompanying him are his ravishing fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), and his affluent future in-laws. The perfunctory relationship that Gil shares with his fiancée seems to be a result of Inez' perpetually disinterested outlook towards Gil's ambition of graduating into a full- fledged writer by making a foray into fiction writing. The beauty of Midnight in Paris is that it poses several questions, and while many of them may be answered in the due course of the movie, the true onus truly lies with the viewer to fathom the reality based on his own understanding. One major question that would continuously perplex the viewer is whether it is the yearning for creativity or the want for true love or the search for something even more profound that's haunting Gil?

Midnight in Paris has loads to offer even to the average viewer, especially to ones who are willing to delve deep into realm of the unknown to savor the real delight that awaits them. The dreamlike sequences that depict Gil interacting with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel, and Pablo Picasso are an absolute treat to watch. While I greatly admire Hemingway and Fitzgerald for their indelible contribution to English Literature, I just absolutely idolize Luis Bunuel not only as a Surrealist, but also as a movie maker par excellence. Who can dare to overlook Bunuel's decorated oeuvre right from his maiden venture, An Andalusian Dog (1929), which he collaborated with another pioneer Surrealist, Salvador Dali to his surrealistic magnum opuses, The Exterminating Angel (1962), to which Mr. Allen pays a tribute in the movie, and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), which won the Best Foreign Picture Oscar for the year?

Woody Allen's inspired direction and inciteful screenplay are well complemented by a very fine ensemble of support cast that includes the likes of Kathy Bates and Adrien Brody. The music and cinematography are awe-inspiring to say the least. Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams perfectly fit in their respective caricatures, and the charming presence of Marion Cotillard adds a whole new spark to the movie. Midnight in Paris has already managed to bag a handful of accolades, and the Oscar nomination is indeed an icing on the cake. Midnight in Paris crosses genres, and presents cinema at its most colorful, while also serving to be a delightful cinematic experience that has something for almost everyone. 9/10

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