Sunday, June 12, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Movie Name: Midnight in Paris
Year of Release: 2011
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates, Mimi Kennedy, Kurt Fuller, Nina Arianda, Carla Bruni, Alison Pill, Tom Hiddleston, Corey Stoll, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Adrien de Van, Yves Heck
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Woody Allen's new film after "You'll Meet a Tall Dark Stranger", follows a new group of characters in a different European city, this time Paris. The film follows the story of Gil, a screenwriter in Hollywood, who is trying to be a writer and who is engaged to Inez, a beautiful but superficial woman. Both are visiting Paris, a city Gil always wanted to move into, but never had a chance. During their stay, Gil and Inez start going their separate paths, Inez with Paul and Carol on cultural strolls (that result in an affair with Paul) and Gil going on a more fantastical journey through time. Each night as the clock indicates midnight, Gil is taken back to the 1920s where he gets to exchange ideas with luminaries such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein, to name but a few. These meetings have an impact on Gil's relationship with Inez and ultimately his life.
Woody Allen builds a film that is clearly enamored with the city of Paris and with nostalgia - specifically with the 1920s. The film is an ode to Paris, whereas the characters are a continuation of his usual universe, starting with his alter ego Gil, the screenwriter trying to find his own voice through his writing. There's as usual the muse (personified by the beautiful and lovely Marion Cotillard) and the larger than life characters who in this case are well known icons, such as Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. The film is simultaneously a reflection on the importance of art and also finding one's true voice as a path to real happiness. It's a dream-like film, not as inspired as the Woody Allen from the 70s/80s/90s, but much better than his latest output. A film worth watching.