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This movie opens intentionally kitschy; it couldn't be more boring: travelogue shots of Paris in sunny weather, in rainy weather, and so forth. The movie then proceeds to move along a different dimension: temporal, in exploring the city's glorious past, especially regarding the many celebrities of arts and letters who used to live and create there in various epochs. There again, Woody Allen comes dangerously close to kitsch -- but safely avoids slipping into that quagmire every time yet another superstar is introduced in the most typical fashion that one might expect to encounter him or her. How do you show Hemingway as "virile", and calling Paris "a movable feast", when all of this is so well-known and has been thrashed to death in countless articles and books and movies? Well, Allen relies on his unusual, "fantasy" story, bringing a new twist to everything that is overly familiar, and on fabulous performances by the entire cast, including Corey Stoll as Hemingway. Stoll's portrayal of Hemingway is so true-to-life and convincing you forget it should be kitschy due to your having known all of this about Hemingway before; Stoll's portrayal of Hemingway is the real thing, and no caricature typical of a comedy movie -- except in the sense that life itself can often be seen as a caricature or comedy. An equally superb performance is given by Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein; or by the trio (or quintet) of impossibly bourgeois US visitors, led by fantastic Rachel McAdams as the main character's fiancée. Owen Wilson is outstanding and authentic as an imitation Woody Allen; he has Woody's intonation and nervous, confused enunciation down pat, so that in many moments, you could have sworn you're watching Woody Allen, the actor, himself. It doesn't hurt that Owen is more handsome than Allen ever was, which makes the story's romantic angle more believable. The movie offers very nice philosophic overtones, in Gil affirming, leaning on Faulkner's words, that "the past is not even past"; and realizing that everything except for the present day is illusionary. And so, the movie is not only a celebration of the physical location of Paris in various time periods -- but also a powerful affirmation of the illusionary nature of *time* itself. While at the same time being philosophic and fantasy (resembling Allen's _The Purple Rose of Cairo_ of 1985), the movie also manages to be vintage Woody Allen comedy, with many amusing situations and even a few that made me laugh out loud. Congratulations to Woody Allen on such youthful effervescence at his advanced age!
Hadn't watched a Woody Allen film for a while and so being the hopeless
romantic that I am, I decided to give this one a shot. It delivered
what it promised - a romantic, comedy, fantasy film.
Casting Owen Wilson as the lead role threw me off at first, but he definitely rose to the challenge. This has always been (I believe) one of Allen's greatest gifts - that is, as an actor's director. He seems to be able to bring out the best in them.
The only setback for some watching this film may be the various real life characters that Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) runs into who were supposedly hanging out in Paris during the 20's. Though this does not distract at all from the feel and flow of the film, some of the subtler humour may be missed.
For me, this is not a Annie Hall or a Manhattan, but it definitely hints at much of Allen's spirit and wit I've come to love.
The film went on to win both the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe Awards for Best Screenplay; and was nominated for three other Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Art Direction
Midnight in Paris is a charming, surprising, and light movie. It's
about being lost, then finding your way by magic and complete
I think this Woody Allen piece works because of the overt innocence of Owen Wilson's character. The fact that he is trampled by his controlling wife, played by Rachel McAdams, adds to his likability. His strange encounters are put together in a very simple manner with very little fanfare. The result is that we are transported without us breaking our suspension of disbelief. The fact that Paris is almost timeless also helps.
The sets, costumes, score, and editing are just right. The well chosen cast also gives us a solid performance.
Overall, there's very little negative to say, except maybe that the conclusion lacks a little bit of substance. It's simply that the transition when he finally understand is dropped on us very suddenly and he cuts off his ties quickly. It's very mature and realistic, in a way, but slightly unsatisfying. More over, the beginning of the film is a bit rough, but you get in to the beat quite rapidly.
It's good, see it if you like low-key productions.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Midnight in Paris", Woody Allen's latest crowd-pleaser, is one of the
most original films I've seen in eons. Ripe from Allen's raw
imagination, the film captures Paris at its most majestic and the vivid
characters blend into the tasty concoction of humor, romance and
nostalgia. This one's a pure Woody Allen picture.
Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a Hollywood screenwriter who longs to write something more creative than mundane screenplays. While working on his first novel, he takes off on a trip to Paris with his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. Gil's nostalgic about Paris in the 1920s. Tired of his lack of interest in most activities, Inez advises him to stick to screen writing. Inez wants to tour Paris in the company of her friends Paul (Michael Sheen) and Carol (Nina Arianda) but Gil isn't interested, and one night he takes off for a stroll when he runs into a couple of people on their way to a party. Slowly snapping out of his drunken self, he realizes that he's actually been transported back to the 1920s, where he encounters the people he idolizes : Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the 1920s Paris, he meets Adriana (Marion Cotillard) whom he falls in love with. Finally, Gil is left to face a big question : Does he want to live in Paris and meet people he idolizes everyday at midnight or spend the rest of his life doing what he's currently doing : writing films?
Just because this is a Woody Allen film, you know that the city will play a big role in the story. It does and how! Cinematographer Darius Khondji's magical camera captures Paris in the most subtle way possible. But what's special about this film is the superb writing, an art which no one knows better than Allen. The writing can't be categorized as comical but the humor is woven into the script with great finesse. The film depends heavily on the writing and the colorful conversations between the characters liven up the film which would've otherwise slogged. Apart from the marvelously written dialog and characters, the performances by the whole cast are exemplary. This is easily Owen Wilson's best performance and he brings a quiet confidence to his role. One sequence in the film, where Gil attempts to steal a pair of earrings which belong to Inez only to run into her and her parents outside the door, is so sharply written and enacted that it could well be one of the best sequences Allen has directed in years.
Though the film is innovative, it's devoid of a plot, however. A small plot could've turned this into a great film, but nothing happens except Gil going back to the 1920s every night and meeting up with his idols. That is the only issue I have with this otherwise fantastic film.
"Midnight in Paris" may not be a great film, but Allen's buoyant writing guarantees you an enjoyable 90 minutes. Seldom has a fantasy-adventure been this funny since Robert Zemeckis' miraculous 1985 film "Back to the Future". Way to go!
You definitely need to be in the right mood for this-luckily I was and enjoyed it throughout and could have watched for longer. Of course the characterisations of the famous historical figures must be taken with a pinch of salt. Yet it felt like a celebration of these figures and also introduced me to the wonders of alternative filmmaker Luis Bunuel which is certainly not a bad thing. As with many of his films if Allen doesn't play the lead role then whoever does seems to be doing an impression of him. Wilson did do this but had enough charisma and ability to shine through. McAdams also does a good job and of course so does the beautiful Paris.
One of the most productive and sought after directors (by actors),
Woody Allen, has made dozens of films that deal with the often
turbulent relationships between men and women. Almost exclusively a New
Yorker by heart, Allen has begun a renaissance of sorts with his
exploration of European settings in particular Paris, France, and
although his films of the past decade have varied in quality, his
latest, Midnight in Paris, is a standout and represents the
writer/director at the top of his game.
Opening with a spectacular collage of vignettes, Paris never looked more enticing or romantic (Manhattan redux). At the fabled Giverny, Monet's source of inspiration, an American couple, Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are engaged to be married and yet squabble constantly. An idealist, He is smitten by the culture and history of Paris, and one night while strolling the streets alone, a vintage car drives by and gives him a ride to a café. Gil realizes that he has been transported to 1920's Paris and is mingling with the celebrities of its heyday including some famous American ex-patriots like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Gil is struggling with a novel and needs some advice, so who better than Gertrude Stein (amusingly played by Kathy Bates) to critique the manuscript? Upon his return to present day Paris, Gil wonders if it was all a dream but the scene repeats itself the next evening at midnight when he meets Pablo Picasso and the beautiful Adriana (Marion Cotillard), who captures Gil's fancy. Thinking that Gil has lost his mind, Inez begins to show interest in another male friend. Meanwhile Gil is obsessed with Adriana, and as the couple visits the Moulin Rouge, they find themselves transported to an even earlier, romantic period in French history. Gil finds that Adriana has her own ideas about life, and he is about to find true love in the unlikeliest of places.
This is Allen in high gear and, though it does not necessarily rank among his best, it certainly is a throwback to his vintage period of Manhattan and the film that this will be most compared to The Purple Rose of Cairo, with its similar combination of wistful fantasy, storybook romance, and sophisticated comedy. You do wonder how Gil and Inez could ever become a couple considering how much they bicker about most everything. It's also interesting how Allen uses a bit of sleight of hand by focusing our attention on Gil and Adriana that we miss an obvious connection. Such is love.
Gil is a surrogate for Allen's inner voice. (One could even picture a younger Allen actually performing the role.) He is also a romantic in contrast to Inez's friends who are intellectuals. As for Paris, it plays a supporting role as its landmarks are adoringly featured throughout the film without detracting from the characters or story. It is clear Allen is smitten with the City of Lights as he was with his home base of New York City.
There are some amusing scenes including the fate of a private investigator hired to follow Gil and ends up caught up in a different time running for his life. When Gil listens to old Cole Porter recordings or sees Picasso paintings in a museum, the joke is that he actually has met these men in real life! In another scene, Gil suggests to a young director, Luis Bunuel, a film idea which is the plot to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie that he will make many years later (and win an Oscar). As Salvador Dali, Adrien Brody hams it up to great effect in a brief scene.
Sure Allen has made some good films recently like Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but it's been a long while since he made anything as imaginative, comedic, and romantic at the same time. Vive le Woody Allen!
What a coincidence: two of the films nominated for the 2012 Academy Awards Best Picture award--The Artist and Midnight in Paris--are magic-realism tributes from France to America and vice versa. The Artist does this elegantly, with a brilliantly original take on the classic riches-to-rags-to-riches redemption motif. Ironically, while fawning over Paris, Woody Allen had to spoil his movie by larding it with clichés about superficial, materialistic Californians. While The Artist was a pure and innocent celebration of Hollywood, Woody Allen is a typical young American effacing himself before superior European sophistication. Really quite sad, because the premise was clever, and charmingly carried out during those segments when the hero was soiréeing with historical cultural greats. I also love Paris, and also suffer the recurring fantasy of just simply...staying, maybe to write my book. My experience has been that haughty Parisians really are disarmed by Jerry Lewis-like Americans like me and Owen Wilson. ;) Call me another self-effacing young American, but a French director could have pulled off Midnight in Paris with grace and subtle humor while retaining his dignity. Irony noted.
Midnight in Paris had so much hoopla surrounding it, that I was wary of approaching it. As someone that enjoys writing myself, the story of a writer could easily connect with me, or it could have annoyed me. Luckily it did the former. Wilson plays a Hollywood screenwriter that wants to work on his novel while in Paris. Unfortunately, and I never thought I'd say this, he is engaged to Rachel McAdams. She has become comfortable with his lifestyle, and doesn't want him to give everything up for something he may struggle with. WHile in Paris they meet up with Michael Sheen, playing a pedantic ass to perfection. I just wanted to cave his head in, and Wilson played off him exactly the way I would have done. Sheen's so called knowledge is the sauce of humour during the early half of the movie, as he gets his facts mixed up. Wilson soon winds up in the 1920's and meets his own literary heroes. Finally feeling appreciated, he spends every evening with his new found friends. This is certainly a film about writing, art, creativity, and being accepted. But it also goes further, looking at how all past is glamorised to a certain degree. This was a lovely film, with my only gripe being McAdams' character. She was simply so unappealing, that I had no idea as to why herself and Wilson were together. There was no chemistry, and not even a hint at anything resembling love. Luckily, such a poor relationship made it easier to accept some of Wilsons' actions. A great lot of co-starring roles are filled out by A-Listers having a lot of fun as classic artists from the past. Midnight in Paris, really is for those that love to walk in the rain.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Paris never looked more beautiful and colourful to me (As if I have
been there). Still, one has to appreciate the way Woody Allen captured
the city and by doing so enraptured the viewers. The opening montage
was so beautiful that one cannot help but agree with Gil Pender's (Owen
Wilson) decision of moving there.
At the start of the movie, we see our protagonist in a dilemma. The dilemma, then, seemed to be between choosing two cities, hence two lifestyles. But it was eventually between doing what one want to do, to create something which they strive for, and to accept other's opinions and have a relatively simpler life. Woody Allen created this perspective of Gil Pender, along with the romantic angle of course. This, I believe, is what Allen is master at. The blending of romance and fantasy is fantastic.
The story is simple. Pender, after a disappointed evening with his wife and her pseudo-intellectual friends, wanders in the street of Paris and at midnight gets picked up by a couple of people who turns out to be from the 1920s, the Golden Age where Pender always wanted to be and live life. There he meets his literature and art idols. The story gets unfolded in an engaging way.
The performances are appropriate and good, as one expects from an ensemble like this. I really liked Owen Wilson's performance here. He managed to reflect the innocence of his character quite well. Rachel McAdams depicted her character's superficiality well; Michael Sheen, always a fine actor, portrayed his character with finesse. All the cameos in different timezone by various actors were great, especially Adrien Brody's, Kathy Bates' and Corey Stoll's ones. But it was Marion Cotillard who gorgeously shone in her character.
The cinematography and Art Direction deserves all the accolades and plaudits too, especially the way it helped to create the golden age of literature.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Excellent movie... While it follows the same self-portrait that Allen
did in other movies (with Owen Wilson surprisingly playing Allen well),
it brings a lighter atmosphere, laughs, entertainment, romance that
will please the audiences around the world, having as a background the
most loved city and several of the appreciated and controversial
artists who lived there.
Rachel McAdams does a good job as the empty-headed fiancée, and Owen shows what each of us went through at some point in our lives: the feeling that we could be happier somewhere else or with someone else. He falls in love with the city, the artists and finally with a woman who intrigues and stimulates him in a way he can't find at present times.
Great cameos by excellent actors (Adrien Brody is great). If Allen wanted to do a movie that was faithful to his roots, and bring fun to the audience while making his point in an artsy way, he certainly hit jackpot! I still prefer some other movies of his but this one does bring more entertainment!
The message I got at the end is that no place is better than where we are, as long as our demons are well resolved and we can find there the things and people we love.
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