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Midnight in Paris (2011)
Entertains, but doesn't go any further
Midnight in Paris isn't an exciting movie, but entertains. Quite well, actually. For an hour and a half, we see the main character, played by Owen Wilson, enter a different world and realizing that that world might be better than his own reality. And that, of course, could only happen in Paris. It's an easy movie to watch, it doesn't makes us think too much; it makes us dream, just like the protagonist. Wilson isn't a sublime actor but gives us an easily likable character. A simple writer, he feels he was born at the wrong time and only wants the opportunity to live in another age. We can find some similarities with the seventies' Woody Allen... the way he walks, talks, the gestures... Maybe Allen intended that, by casting Wilson. Rachel McAdams plays his wife; arrogant, shallow, a bit naive, who isn't able to picture a a life beyond the one she knows. Michael Sheen plays McAdams ex-teacher, and it is when the couple crosses paths with Sheen's character that the incompatibilities between them become absolutely evident. But it's in the 'parallel' world of Wilson that we find the real interesting characters, with simple but effective performances by established actors, from Marion Cotillard to Kathy Bates, and 5 minutes of pure gold with Adrien Brody, as Dalí; and also good performances by less known actors such Corey Stoll or Allison Pill. Don't forget to check Carla Bruni's appearance, in a simple but charming role, that fits her quite well.
Far from Allen's golden era, Midnight in Paris still scores by being different and original, which is something we can't always say about his movies. A picture with beautiful images and a plot capable of keeping us minimally interested for an hour and a half, but that does not go any further.