Midnight In Paris

19 Nov

Director: Woody Allen (2011)
Midnight In Paris
This is the stuff dreams are made of. Actually. I have honestly had this dream, where I frolic around 1920s Paris, best of friends with the Fitzgeralds, pining over Hemmingway and sending manuscripts to Gertrude Stein. Once again Woody Allen has jumped into my mind and delivered the film I wanted to write. Damn you, Allen.

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a writer. Perhaps not the best writer, but one who lives and loves for his art, Gil exists in a world where every moment has the potential for inspiration. He is a nostalgic soul, a trait that has clearly inspired his latest novel based around a man who works in a nostaligia shop. He lives his life looking to the past, with ardent adoration, but unfortunately his fiancé, Inez (Rachel McAdams) does not share such whimsy and instead she busies herself looking forward to their impending wedding and their life together in the most pragmatic and unromantic way it is baffling how these two ever came to be together.  He wants to live in Paris in the rain; she wants to live in Malibu.

We meet Gil and Inez in Paris where they are on holiday with Inez’s conservative parents. And happen to bump into Inez’s friend Paul (Michael Sheen), an unwelcome irritant but also a useful character to further demonstrate that Gil is meant for better things…

Despairing with his company, Gil gets drunk one night and wanders the streets of Paris. As midnight strikes, a 1920s car appears on a street corner. And of course, as any writer looking for adventure would do, Gil gets in and is transported into a mystical alternate Paris, where his new social circle expands to include Cole Porter, Josephine Baker and F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemmingway. Hemmingway kindly offers to show Gil’s manuscript to one Gertrude Stein – Gil rushes back to the hotel to get a copy only to find himself back in present day and the bar nowhere to be found. Midnight In Paris invites us into this wonderfully vintage and inspired world, as Gil dives into his own imagination and those who inspired him as a writer, but also in their carefree bohemian way of life that he is not allowed in his life with Inez. But with artists and lovers of Picasso (the stunning Marion Cotillard) abound, the Surrealist movement of 1920s Paris becomes an all too familiar reality for Gil as he explores this world.

Beautifully shot with typically Allen-esque dialogue and pauses for thought, Midnight in Paris is a film for literary fans and hopeful escapees into la belle époque. Paris glistens with nostalgia and Gil’s all inspiring rain, and while it may be one of Allen’s more commercial creations, it still exudes his characteristic charm and quirk.

And should I ever find myself on a street corner in Paris at midnight, I know I will briefly linger, just in case.

Except I will make sure I have a copy of my manuscript ready for Ms Stein.


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