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This film is about an American writer who travels to Paris with his
fiancée. A chance encounter at midnight brings him back to the Paris in
"Midnight in Paris" is very unlike a Woody Allen film, as it lacks the non stop witty dialogs and sarcasm that are normally his trademarks. Still, "Midnight in Paris" is highly intellectual and enjoyable. The way it entertainingly weaves through so many artistic masterminds in a story is quite genius. It gives me the impulse to go and study art history! The cast is magnetic; Owen Wilson breathes life into this confused man, while Adrien Brody is particularly memorable as Salvador Dali. Even Carla Bruni is in the film, which is almost a official recognition by the French that "Midnight in Paris" is a great film.
"Midnight in Paris" might be the most commercial film Woody Allen has made in years. It is a fun, and heartwarming fantasy tale. I am glad that this has translated to box office success.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are plenty of big, loud blockbusters making their way to a
theater near you. 2011 is a little more lackluster than most. Still
there is a little bit of originality left in Hollywood if you look for
it and Midnight in Paris is a prime example.
Woody Allen's new film starts unassumingly with Owen Wilson doubling for Allen as a Hollywood hack unsure about his aspirations to become a real writer. What he is sure of is he loves Paris and has joined his fiancé (Rachel McAdams) and fiancé's parents on vacation pining to discover the city in spring. His fiancé however really just wants to shop. It's all pretty basic really, in fact by the fifteen minute mark I kind of wondered where the movie was going. Then Owen Wilson's character stumbles into a back street in Paris, the clock strikes midnight and he is coaxed into an antique car by a gaggle of garishly dressed people.
Inexplicably, Owen Wilson transports to 1920's Paris and literally walks in the shadows of his idols. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein all make an appearance in what is sure to be an English slash Art major's wet dream. This movie must have been an absolute joy to make and shows a historical and literary depth that rivals Allen's Love and Death.
Truth be told, I don't consider myself an intellectual. I have never read Fitzgerald or T.S. Eliot and to be honest there were plenty of jokes that were just plain over my head. But there is still a genteel human touch and accessibility to this film that stimulated my mind without being pretentious.
The performances are great. Wilson makes for a good doppelganger to good ol' Woody, displaying the neuroticism the screenplay requires, but adding on a good dose of naivety that only Owen Wilson can provide. The real treat however comes from the actors playing historical figures. Kathy Bates is great as the no-nonsense Gertrude Stein and Corey Stoll as Hemingway is truly inspired; speaking in strong masculine prose and challenging everyone in earshot to a fistfight. Adrien Brody also makes an appearance as Salvador Dali which can be best described as absurdly hilarious.
Critics have been singing "Midnight's" praises but warning that the film isn't for everybody which is a shame. This movie can be for everyone, save little children. Sure the subject matter might be a little academic but the themes of living in the past and being the best version of yourself are universal.
As a Woody Allen fan, I can say that Midnight in Paris isn't his best but awfully close. It's funny, sweet and stimulating without being too intellectual. Unlike a lot of the movies I've seen in 2011, it's original. For those who don't want to spend their hard earned money on a record year in sequels go see Midnight in Paris.
An enjoyable, if slight, Woody Allen comedy. I probably would have enjoyed this more on video than in the theater, however. I don't think there has ever been a film that invited more forced laughter than this one. It's funny, but rarely laugh-out-loud funny. But you wouldn't know that from the audience, who guffawed at the mere appearance of Henri Matisse. The one person in the audience besides me to have heard of The Exterminating Angel made sure to let me know by her laughter during the film's very unfunny Marvin Berry moment. Of course, everyone cackled loudly when Salvador Dali popped up. So everyone by now knows the story: Owen Wilson, playing the Woody Allen surrogate, plays a Hollywood writer entranced with the city of Paris during his trip there. He's annoyed by his stuffy future-wife (Rachel McAdams) and her even stuffier parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy). During a midnight walk through the city, he gets picked up by an old automobile and transported to Paris of the 1920s, where he meets F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill), Ernest Hemmingway (Corey Stoll), Gertrud Stein (Kathy Bates), Pablo Picasso (Marcial di Fonzo Bo) and other famous figures from the era. He also meets Picasso's current girlfriend, played by Marion Cotillard, and falls for her. Not surprising how quickly he would leave McAdams, who plays such an awfully detestable shrew it's hard to believe anyone even remotely like Wilson's character would put up with her for over two minutes, let alone propose to her at some point. McAdams and her parents are so awful that any sequence that takes place in the present are borderline painful. Fortunately, the sequences where Wilson visits the past, as annoyingly congratulatory as they are, are quite delightful. Wilson ain't half bad, and Cotillard, as always, is enchanting. Most of the historical figures are kind of fun to hang out with. Who wouldn't want to hear Ernest Hemmingway talk about hunting lions all night long? Of course, it helps that Paris really is beautiful, and Allen films it with a fine eye.
Midnight in Paris is one of the only movies lucky enough to be rented
out by me and not returned with an expected refund...in respect for
this supposedly good title I merely stopped the DVD less than an hour
in, ejected it and placed it calmly back into its case. Now I
understand the concept of the film, it's quite a cool concept, however
apart from it already being unbelievable, as most movies are, making it
believable should have been the director's primary aim, unfortunately
it undoubtedly was and yet I didn't see it.
Luckily for director Woody Allen it was set in the beautiful Paris which sold the title to me in the first place, I was looking forward too seeing the stunning French backdrop to reminisce on my recent travels...and the horrendous long introduction covered this, and then began the script and the character introduction;
In short, the main characters, Gil (Owen Wilson) and the other one...his fiancé i think she was supposed to be (Rachel McAdams) are two people who live in the States and travel to Paris often, despite the obvious and constantly expressed dislike McAdams feels for the place which makes no sense to me at all. Gil, a script writer and keen novelist adores the city however and has a love for writing, art and the 1920s. So he often goes off without his fiancé which is the most believable part of the whole film as I do not understand how anyone would want to be around her, and at midnight every night he finds himself back into the 20s era spending time with Hemingway, Picasso and a bunch of other famous people he admires. Blah blah blah whats-her-name doesn't believe him but he keeps going back to get his novel proof read by some woman that's played by Cathy Bates of course and he finds out history's secrets and has a near affair with some chick who's with Picasso, whom we liked because she wasn't a winy brat like the other chick...OK, I didn't like her, much less whatever the wardrobe department kept dressing her in which included some horrific belts...never mind it was awful but um tangent city....
Now, not that I continued watching once I discovered the story had no peaks or troughs, just a monotone that started at the bottom and stayed there, I realized that for the type of movie it was, it had the worst possible casting. Clearly the famous names and setting for the film were its only selling point; however had they been unknown actors it would have been far better in my opinion...Wilson is a funny guy...and always the same funny guy, he was so not needed here, and McAdam's was just there to look pretty, but her character's attitude didn't suit her and i feel sorry for her that she thought she had to star in this.
All I really remember from this experience was turning to my boyfriend and sincerely apologizing for my choice of movie for which I begged but that's it! I have no idea what happened at the end of the film, or in the middle...but if anyone has the strength to find out it'd be nice to know if it actually ever went anywhere. Also, if you can stand the stupid (sorry) script, the uncomfortably annoying relationship between the main characters and Rachel's outfits then I commend you..but if you truly love Paris, maybe just watch the film on mute because it doesn't have much else going for it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Allen's conceit, if this movie is anything to go by, appears boundless.
Or maybe his advance into dotage has seriously diminished his powers.
It's not that he lacks imagination or flair, it's simply that he has
applied his skills to a movie that ultimately has no warmth and no
The movie does have a message -- the timeless "There's no place like home". Other movies have taken that moral and ended up with more convincing results. "Wizard of Oz", for example, comes to mind. In "Midnight In Paris", home refers to the present time the lead character inhabits, 2010, but he would prefer to live in a previous era, the 1920s in Paris. And he happens upon a method to whisk him back to that era -- a carriage which appears on a dim Paris street at the stroke of midnight.
I happily suspended disbelief to see where the story would take me. What eventuated, and what destroyed the suspension, was the name-dropping exercise involving most of the famous artistic characters who passed through Paris in the 1920s. Allen intentionally manipulates the audience by pandering to their need to appear knowledgeable in front of friends. At every entrance of another noted artist, a murmur sweeps through the audience as people in the know are unable to restrain the urge to tell their neighbour who the new kid is. "That's Cole Porter at the piano and there's Picasso."
And this is where I hark back to Allen's conceit. Well, two conceits. The first, that a dull, would-be writer could somehow befriend the likes of Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway and Gertrude Stein. The second, that Allan is so taken with his own persona, so enamoured with his importance as an actor, that this movie just has to have himself in the starring role -- but being much to old to play the lead in this movie, he clones himself. Like "Mini-Me" from an Austin Powers movie (except this Mini-Me is the same size as the original), this film's cloned Woody Allen walks and talks just like the real thing. And just like the real thing, the clone is irresistible to every gorgeous young woman he meets. Allen's fetish for young women is clearly on display.
Entertainment at a superficial level is what this movie is about. On the surface it is not difficult to enjoy this film. The cinematography is clean and elegant: very little unnecessary camera movement, and no out-of-focus foreground that every camera hack overuses because they learnt at film school that that's how you give depth to a scene. The sound is crisp and appropriate, with little evidence of overly-zealous foley artists at work. And the basic story -- time travel -- is always of interest.
Scratch the surface, however, and pus oozes. This film is diseased. The acting is mediocre, especially by Allen's clone; and the story itself, though inherently interesting, is undone by its ludicrous proposition -- that a dull American would be of interest to some of the most creative people of the 20th century. Pre-production, Allen was let down by people who should have put their awe aside and warned him: "Hey Woody, it's probably not a good idea to clone yourself for the lead role. And rehashing scenes from "Manhattan" are you sure that's a good idea?"
The disease is narcissism. It's quite okay to feature yourself in the lead role of movies when the lead is an ordinary bloke surrounded by friends; it's highly suss to keep doing that when you are much too old to play the roles, and instead, hire a young clone and set yourself amongst the rich, the famous, and the gorgeous.
Having Hemingway in this film reminded me of a story about fantasy, lies, and Hemingway, in the book "Why We Lie" by Dorothy Rowe. The quote talks about the principles Hemingway used to guide his work:
"The first - derived from newspaper experience which had trained him to report only what he had witnessed directly - was that fiction must be founded on real emotional and intellectual experience and be faithful to actuality, but must also be transformed and heightened by the imagination until it becomes truer than mere factual events Engaging an audience and telling the truth requires considerable skill, particularly if you put the truth you want to tell into some kind of fantasy. You have to make sure that you never lose sight of the difference between the truth you want to tell and the fantasy. Only then can you control both elements of your material". (p147)
Unfortunately, Allen did lose control of this film because he lost sight of the difference between truth and fantasy.
Woody Allen was 75 when he directed this movie. If this is all he is now capable of he should step aside from writing and directing, and limit himself to producing. Bow out gracefully, in other words, before more movie failures expose his declining powers to even his most devoted fans.
Woody, if you feel driven to continue writing movies that star yourself, write them for a man of your age. Here's an idea:
1. An elderly Woody Allen realises his creative powers are diminishing.
2. While wandering the streets of New York at night with three friends, talking about his mental decline, Woody heads off into the darkness by himself.
3. He jumps in one of those horse-pulled carriages that roam New York and ends up back in 1979 on the set of "Manhattan".
4. The older Woody and the younger Woody interact in some interesting way.
Forget the science fiction, forget the women young enough to be your granddaughters. Act your age and your movies will probably turn out okay.
I failed to make it beyond the first 20 minutes of Midnight In Paris. That miserable time was filled with a ever-increasing pity for such hopelessly self-absorbed people. Sadly, every Woody Allen movie I have seen, which is by no means all, has been populated exclusively with characters devoid of the quality that I cherish in real people; a recognition of some thing which is greater than themselves. Allen's characters always seem to follow the same, circular, shallow lives: It starts with conflicting introspection, then false-awareness, always followed by the deep, wallowing creep of a search for a self-induced problem that would not have existed had their self-absorption not been their best quality. Is Allen incapable of writing a character that has faith? Surely he must have met a person in his life to draw upon, SOMEWHERE, that was not endlessly bumping into other people's psyches, constantly wondering what is wrong with themselves! Well, maybe not...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The fact that 75-year-old Woody Allen opens his latest film with a
soothing yet slightly over-indulgent montage of countless Parisian
places seems to have led many to believe that he is besotted by this
famous city, but they are forgetting that a film director may often
just be presenting a viewpoint, may not necessarily share it
themselves. In this case, it is likely that this deep passion we see
does not belong to Woody Allen, but his effortlessly lovable
protagonist, Gil. Brilliantly brought to life by Owen Wilson, a popular
comedic actor who often tags along with Ben Stiller, but has left him
behind on this outing, Gil is an unshakable romantic who intends to
pursue a career as a novelist, with Paris being his ideal writing
station. It seems that the only thing holding him back is the
insistence of his whiny, closed-minded fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams) and
her snobby, overbearing liberalist parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimmi
Kennedy) to continue churning out formulaic but reliably profitable
Hollywood film scripts as he is currently doing.
As the four of them are trying to enjoy a decidedly uncomfortable parisian holiday, they have a chance encounter with Inez's overzealous but good-hearted friend Carol (Nina Arianda), and, much to Gil's annoyance, her insufferable know-it-all husband Paul (Michael Sheen, who rises admirably to the challenge of masking his natural likability), after which the women unite the two younger couples as travel mates for the rest of the trip, but the seething friction between the men make it a very awkward arrangement.
As you can see, within the first half hour, the foundations have been laid for yet another zany romantic and situation comedy: the antagonistic goody two-shoes jerk; the clumsy and confused protagonist struggling to satisfy the other characters; the tough, hard-to-please parents, the well-meaning bystander; the tight setting that allows almost no escape; everything's there at the ready. Then Gil sensibly decides to withdraw from the unpleasantness and drop the contented façade, an act of ordinary intelligence that is commonplace in the real world but equates to a stroke of genius in the world of oddball comedy. Heavily drunk and a little out of his senses, he decides to take a nice leisurely stroll around the city streets seeking inspiration for his writing. At the stroke of midnight, sitting down in a particular spot, he magically enters his favourite Parisian era: the 1920s. When this occurs, we are just as surprised as he is, the film having so convincingly set itself up to be something very different. It is perhaps the most cunning and well-executed deception since Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). The audience is completely unsuspecting, and until Gil starts running into people like Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot and Scott Fitzgerald.
After having such a fabulous night in what he has always thought of as the Golden Age, Gil becomes a regular visitor, returning to the real world each day with more and more quirky discoveries and fresh ideas, sending his loathsome companions into a state of utter bewilderment. This is another point at which the film diverts from the familiar route, where the female spouse continually complains and obsesses over the male protagonists apparent descent into madness and until he eventually comes to his senses and butters her up once more, because keeping their relationship together is paramount, no matter what the holes have to be patched up with. As Inez takes incessant whinging to soaring new heights, Gil makes no effort to appease her and instead finds solace in being with the lovely Adriana (the wonderful Marion Cotillard), an adventurous young soul, who is one of Picasso's numerous gorgeous muses and lovers. The end result of these relationship dynamics is highly interesting and genuinely surprising, so I won't spoil it.
It is these surprising elements that Woody Allen has added used rather unpromising ingredients to put together a very smart and enjoyable film that in the end comes to a very insightful conclusion about Gil's nostalgic romanticism: the past will always seem more inviting than the present, regardless of what era the present might be, for it does often take many years for true beauty to be revealed and appreciated, and there will always be a yearning for that blissful innocence and security of the past. This is not just true of time, but also of place, and that is perhaps what may Woody Allen may have been alluding to in the opening sequence, that Paris is perceived as a perfect paradise, but, as shown with a few of those shots, much of it is as mundane and imperfect as any other Western city. These pieces of thematic material also help to lift this film above the ordinary standard, and make good use of its astutely controlled 94-minute running time, producing a very worthwhile comedic fantasy that also co-stars Carla Bruni, Kathy Bates, Léa Seydoux and Adrien Brody.
Oh dear. I know democracy is good, is something positive even if not
perfect. Nevertheless, when I see here all the shinning comments about
this abnormal movie I just want to putsh over IMDb and play Pinochet
for a while until all those stars are wiped out for good.
Woody, Woody, Woody... not even your genius, not even your brilliant direction can save this aberration. Why to take part in such a stupid project? Please, I want to know why??? I demand to know!
Absolutely below all B movie standards. They probably thought "let's mix Woody with some pretty faces and asses and with some crazy directing moves and we got ourselves a movie". Instead, what Woody got was something to throw in the nearest trash bin. What he got was a complete failure, a mess without plot, without actors, without ideas, without consistence. What he did was to copy the traditional teen romance movie already seen ten thousand times before, arrange some fancy scenarios with lots of dolls, kidnap Rachel McAdams until Owen Wilber agreed to jump into the project and VOILÁ! You got yourself the bullshit movie of the year.
Avoid this movie with all your strengths, even if you adore Woody Allen, like me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My husband and I found this film totally derivative. The opening sequence is Manhattan's opening, only with Paris and different music. The plot is too predictable. We even guessed which girl Gil would wind up with as soon as she appeared on screen (BTW: total Mia Farrow look alike.) I kept wishing the film was about the artists Gil encountered in the twenties, not Gil, who is, of course, Woody Allen. Allen did a great job of parody with the artists, though. I have been a long time fan of Allen but have to admit I am tired of his personna on screen. His last great movie was "Match Point." There is no Woody Allen schtick in that movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a romantic comedy set in Paris.A young couple who is engaged to be married have experiences there that change their lives. A young man's great love for Paris in the springtime. The illusion people have that a life different from theirs would be much better.Gil, a screenwriter from Hollywood dreams of someday writing a good novel and following in the steps of the legends of Paris in the 1920's. His fiancé, Inez, on the other hand with her pompous and snooty behavior wants to control him and rather not live in Paris after their wedding. Gil's journey and self realization comes into effect on the night he wanders off on his own.Sitting on steps as the clock strikes midnight. Gil encounters a group of people who seem familiar as they sweep him along, apparently back in time, for a night with some of the 1920s icons of art and literature.This fantasy he has is his wish fulfillment. The beauty he sees in the other women of many of the famous artists in that time, Adriana, is what he wants in Inez.It makes him realize what he needs to change in his present in order for him to succeed in what he wants for the future.
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